THE WISDOM OF HUMAN-TRANSCENDENCE
1. Toward Higher Understanding
I: TOWARD HIGHER-UNDERSTANDING
I want to be free!-The soul-cry of our age.
And what is this freedom that is so cried-out for? Not political freedom; assume we have that. Not personal freedom; assume we have that too.
Then what? Is it not freedom from our all-too-human self in its suffering and vulnerability, in its lusts and carnality, in its frailty and self-absorbtion? ...That's it!-the target for a type of individual whose eye is on his-her more-than-human self.
Such individuals are bothered, troubled, frustrated, even oppressed, by their humanness, regardless of their practicality, regardless of their social status, regardless of their age, regardless of their success, regardless of their biology ; and however they attempt to assuage or discount this eternal insignia of their (human) nature, they fail either comically or tragically. They feel severely limited compared to the limitless
power they intuit inwardly.
Something more-much more-than their human side is discerned in their intuitive minds, call it what they might: soul, spirit, transcendence, nothingness, purity, oneness, eternity, Love, will. It is their God; not the God of the Jews, nor of the Christians, nor of the Mohammedans; but the God that resides in the inwardness of their minds-where they themselves, and everyone and everything else, are God, are One!
Essence, Source, Power, Love, Meaning-whatever It may be called-of everything is that which resonates their being, whether they're in the glut of the mundane, or in the glow of transcendence, or in the thrall of depravity. It stays ever present, however distant we are from it-Knock! Knock! Knock!: always the
knock, as D.H. Lawrence wrote of It.
From whence It comes, or why It strikes this or that individual so poignantly, so acutely, so profoundly, remains as mysterious as Itself. But It cannot be denied neither in the beginning nor in the end.
And it is this Presence-this absent Presence, that inspires the cry for freedom in such individuals. This is what they mean when they cry out, I want to be free! Their freedom is to be in touch with It; to move with It; to live in, for, and by It. This is their freedom-their self-freedom: the freedom from the pull and push, the drag and jolt, the whim and crush, of their all-too-attached-self. Once freed from self, one then is in touch, in contact, in enlightenment, with one's eternal Transcendence; then weakness transforms into strength, lust into love, cowardice into courage, ego into humanity, and finally flesh into soul.
That is the ideal to which we aspire-and to which we will never fully, or even nearly fully, attain in this life; for how can we possibly be free in life when we are bound to natural necessity. That is the contradiction facing every individual who cries out, I want to be free! It is as much as crying out for God, or Purity-"Give me purity before all else!" (Wittgenstein) There is no attaining to, not to mention sustaining, It, God or Purity, or Soul-or Freedom in this life. If there is any freedom in life it is the promise of death. And should death be Freedom-in
its pure state then that is when we will attain it permanently, and not before.
But can we attain to a measure of self-freedom in this life? Can we approximate it? If the answer is no, that will make no difference to the warriors of self-freedom. Nothing will stop them; not even the impossible. They are convinced. They know that freedom is in their mind-"God has put eternity in man's mind," saith the Bible. Their quest is to transmute that freedom in the mind to freedom in act, in consciousness. They want to, need to, must, reach it; make it a living reality in their daily lives. But How?... How? And that is their struggle. And that is their tragedy. How very few of us throughout the ages have tapped this mine of Freedom. Yet there it is: ever in
And if the answer is yes; then what? What do we do? Where's the way, the path, the guide? Have we not searched everywhere: all religions, all philosophies, all wise men and women, all art, all mysteries? And we are still nowhere-except at the promise. Our mind says no; It says yes. It calls us on and on beyond ourselves into the dark of our mortal minds unto the light of our immortal being.
And this Call will not abide only a passive cross-legged, on your knees, meditative prayer for freedom from the human condition; it necessitates an engagement with the human condition-to enlighten not only yourself but your fellow man: if only one other human being.
And is this not the very thing so many of us want: to free ourselves from our own chains so that we can free others? Yet the inward struggle proves too exacting of us, not only in the long run, but in the short run as well; so we turn outward to help others. We wear ourselves inside out. Our own freedom always seems so far off, so elusive; its efforts so tiring, so tedious, so hard! Just when we think we have it, it's gone. Or just when we think we can relax a little from it, it makes its demands once again. We can't free ourselves? Then let us free others! And so we sing our songs, write our books, paint our pictures; change the laws, feed the poor, expose corruption, minimize exploitation, dignify minorities-all good works, helpful, all heading toward the goal; yet always within the same old interminable rut of human psychology:-the right of justice and wisdom on the defensive against the might of injustice and ignorance on the offensive.
Yet [I]t is given to us in our times to turn the tables on this tiresome, centuries-old state of affairs. A new psychology is needed, as well as a new wisdom, to tip the scales in favor of justice and wisdom. Another book of ideas alone will not do it. We need a book of an individual's mind and will in struggle for a balance, a harmony, between his humanness and transcendence-for freedom from self-absorption opened to self-freedom. This person must stand as a living proof a testimony, a witness, of not only the struggle but the achievement of this balance. And what is this balance? Freedom-self-freedom, to be precise, in which he lives the freedom to be himself at his optimum in relationship to others and to his transcendence.
So what we have is a person who is in touch with his transcendence, and who aspires to, and struggles toward a balanced harmony with it in relationship to others. This is his freedom, his self-freedom for which his daily struggle is carried on; never attaining to its ideal, but ever advancing toward it.
So what we have is a person who is in touch with his transcendence, and who aspires to, and struggles toward a balanced, integrated, harmony with it in relationship to others. This is his freedom, his self-freedom for which his daily struggle is carried on; never attaining to its ideal, but ever advancing toward it.
Let me announce myself, the author, as this man, who after 35 years of innumerable searchings, trials and tribulations, has attained a measure of higher understanding enough to live by in sightings of the ideal of Love.
Let my experiences infuse with those who are of like mind so that our numbers increase many-fold in the years to come, so that we transform not only ourselves but society into warriors for justice and wisdom unto freedom-self-freedom.
Let us begin with self-understanding - deep understanding toward higher understanding. It is through self-understanding that we will aim us toward the freedom that we cry out for from our depths and our heights.
Just as Gandhi set out to free India from foreign rule, so do we set out to free the mind from ignorance and injustice.
And just as Gandhi had his master idea of satyagraha (non-violent resistance through soul force) to accomplish his mission, so do we have our master idea of self-understanding: that is, wisdom, to accomplish our goal.
The idea must be put into practice. Gandhi did it with satyagraha; we must do the same with self-understanding.
Gandhi won the good fight; so must we.
Satyagraha goes beyond the psychology of an eye for an eye; self-understanding (wisdom) goes beyond the psychology of knowledge is power - Two formidable opponents to the freedom of which we're seeking: the natural emotions (revenge,for one) and the natural intellect (rational knowledge, for one). In response to revenge, Gandhi gave us the courage of non-resistance; in response to rational knowledge, we need the courage of self-understanding: an understanding unto wisdom, the wisdom, of what I term: human-transcendence.
Satyagraha is a form of courage; so is self-understanding. Courage resists our weaknesses, our fears, our complacency, our ignorance, our inertia. Satyagraha in practice is nonviolent courage; self-understanding in practice is intellectual courage. Both manners of courage go beyond, or transcend, the natural human (our humanness) and the natural intellect (our reason); and so can be considered as part of our transcendence. Our humanness and reason can be considered as constituting our human self; the courage that transcends our human self can be considered as our transcendent self.
Our psychology then is both human (the all-too-human, or humanness, or humanity, in us) and transcendent (the more-than-human; the beyond-I in us). We are both human and transcendent, more or less depending on the person and environment.
Granting this premise, it would be incomplete, even futile, of us to attempt to live solely in the one part to the exclusion of the other part. To do so would surely miscast us, disorient us, narrow us, distort us, dramatically, consciously or unconsciously.
The median, then, would seem to be a balance between the two: a human-transcendence .
It would then be incumbent upon us to strive, aim, for this median: this human-transcendence. That would take a courage: an intellectual courage-the courage to "know thyself," to "dare to know." This intellectual courage is known as self-understanding: understanding what you know of yourself. These two ancient proverbs, then, come down to meaning: understand thyself, dare to understand."
Courage is a strong word. Pain comes with it; the uplift of victory, as well.
The courage to understand oneself is the heroic life, if not the happy life. What is it about the human in us that takes courage to understand; the transcendent in us, as well? Why heroism even over happiness?
Rather than answer these enquiries directly, let us traverse the human-transcendent terrain in its multifaceted variations and come to - rather than be given - an answer: an answer that gradually evolves the receptive mind toward a higher understanding - an understanding leading toward freedom-self-freedom.
The Early Writings
PART ONE: Our Transcendence
I Essential Being
II Being as Soul
III Surrealistic Verses
III The Power to will
PART TWO: Our Humanness
II The Erotic
III Of Human Bondage
IV The Hard Natures
V The Image of Evil
VI Pathics of Evil
PART THREE: Our Human-Transcendence
I Humanistic Love
II Moral Idealism
III Moral Realism
IV Soul Struggle
V The Aesthetic Experience
1. Essential Being is that which structures the world.
2. That which structures the world constitutes phenomenal reality less all phenomenal manifestations: matter, mass, energy, gravity, electromagnetism, time, space, causality.
3. Essential Being is trans-pantheistic manifesting Itself in and beyond the world in varying modes of will, reason, spirit, goodness, unity, eternity, love, the void.
4. Essential Being not only determines the logical structure of the world as we understand it, but its illogic as well as we do not understand, but intuit, it.
5. Essential Being is immaterial inasmuch as It is the structured configuration of all that is; and so being non-material, can be considered as spiritual.
6. The concept of Essential Being is rich in connotations, depending on one's frame of mind or mood. It can be thought of as will (Schopenhauer), spirit (Hegel), substances (Spinoza), the demiurge (Plato), the prime mover (Aristotle), Logos (Heraclitus), the One (Plotinus); including such concepts, the kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, the void, eternal infinitude, the Good, and on and on.
7. Many people may not be able to identify with the various religious conceptions of God as creator, but they can identify with the many-sided concepts Essential Being.
8. Essential Being is the creative principle of the world.
9. The structure of the world staggers the imagination, but that which structures the world enwonders it.
10. Essential Being underlies the unity of everything as It structures the diversity of the physical world.
11. Essential Being is beyond time in the frame of timelessness.
12. Essential Being goes beyond the logic of the world; it determines the logic of the world.
13. Essential Being is the potentiality of everything.
14. The mind's infinite range of conceivability is the dimension of eternity, or timelessness.
15. It is through the conceivability of the mind that Essential Being is intuited, felt, thought, believed.
16. All is flux (change) except Essential Being.
17. One who is consistently awed by Essential Being will not, at bottom, disdain any aspect of phenomenal reality, since phenomenal reality is the most obvious (to us) manifestation of Essential Being.
18. Essential Being essentializes all individual beings to their purpose, form and function.
19. The roots of reality are the eternal, changeless mathematical relations inherent in the world; which are manifestations of Essential Being.
20. Essential Being is not only eternal, but temporal; not only infinite, but finite.
21. There is a divine order to the regularity of physical processes in the natural world; divine inasmuch as this order is beyond the materiality and processes of the world. It is the impetus of order; and so, is not the order alone, but both the order and impetus.
22. In Essential Being I see the possibility of impossibility.
VERSES OF SURREALISM
NOTE: At a brief stage of my life, I was in a surrealistic frame of mind, and the following verses came to me from "nowhere" in my mind with neither purpose nor plan. A word would come to me, or that I would see in a book; then a flow of thoughts stemming from that world would pour forth; and I would write them down as they came without revision or refinement.
These verses collectively represent Essential Being, Love, flowing through my mind to you, within and without us both humanly and transcendently. They are images that bind us to our life and to life itself. They are a dance between here and eternity. They speak of the essence of our being unto Essential Being itself.
Across the Universe
I have a cryptic message for you
You who are my friends at soul:
Your mind will cross the universe
If you listen receptively
To Lennon's psychedelic-mystic song.
Tomorrow never knows
What today will be tomorrow.
Tomorrow is today-to-be,
Today-to-be is yesterday tomorrow
And so there is nothing to know.
Let me tell you how it's going to be,
Let me tell you how it is;
And let me tell you how it was:
What's going to be is;
What is was;
And what was is going to be.
Atoms of apperception
not seen by sight,
Structure the world all bound up tight.
There and not there in endless flight
Visible only to blinding Sight.
Round you see me, square you don't,
Triangular I am in rectangular space.
Square you see me, round you don't
As round and square as I can be,
I am that I am as round as square
At all times.
Imagine an infinite walk from X,
Straight ahead without a curve;
Step by step you make your way
Walking through infinity
For an endless eternity.
And if you were to view yourself
You'd see you hadn't moved from X!
For X itself is infinity.
MIND without Mind
Shrivel me, time, unto my death
So that my flesh may reek with stench;
Only then will I be free
In the Mind
A mosque somehow in the void of me
wherein God prays to me.
Life is mind-interpretation
of factual ratiocination,
Is only an intricate manifestation
of Something-else beyond this life.
And so it's true life is a dream:
a dream of cause-effect in time
And when awake, we sleepwalk in dream;
Asleep, we are the dream.
I: "Off I go to Nowhere Land,"
say I playfully to my six year old son;
"There's such a place as Nowhere Land,"
So says my darling boy.
I: "And what is there in Nowhere Land?
Nothing is there, everywhere."
"There's just one thing I know is there,"
So says my insightful boy:
"There's just one star that's shinning there."
My son, he knows Eternity.
THE POWER TO WILL
(An Introduction Spoken to My Wife)
Now I'm not a hundred percent sure that I have this down; but it could very well be, what I'm going to say.
Remember 10 years ago when we first got together in the car just before we got together actually and we talked about being able to reach the transcendent, eternal, part of us by our own means: by just like triggering into it rather than through yogic practices, meditative sessions, or drug-induced altered consciousness; or through purity of soul, or ethical virtue, or fasting, or sensory deprivation, and the like, before one can be spiritually worthy before communing with that eternal part of us.
It just automatically came out of me back then, and we both knew, between us, that this "triggering in" through our mind rather than through practices was not only possible but that it had to be. it always seemed that that would be my final push, the final striving, in my later years to reach that, if it were even possible. The idea was that this eternal experience would be one that happened whenever you wanted to more than once or twice in a lifetime beyond our control.
Well it looks like it's here; the beginnings of it anyway. You know, I have my overall metaphysical, mystic, transcendent wisdom, of Meaning, as the ultimate of things in its most abstract form, whether that meaning be a principle, a power, or whatever it may be; but within that meaning is the meaning of the world right down to the meaning of a grain of sand. And Love is a manifestation of it, the unifying aspect of it, that holds everything together from inanimate to animate matter from the atomic particles in a grain of sand to plants, to animals, to human beings that's what we call Love in human terms.
But there's also a phrase that has always been kind of on the periphery of my mental meanderings that came to me in a flash back in 1969, 23 years ago; and that is the power to will that you've heard me speak of on and off over the years. It always returns to my mind "out of nowhere", so to speak; yet I didn't quite know what to do with; how it fit into the scheme of my developing human-transcendent wisdom.
Of course, Nietzsche's will to power makes very good sense to me because, yes, we will for power; not necessarily brute, physical power, but moral power, ego power, intellectual power, spiritual power whatever direction it takes, the more power we have, the more control of our lives, the more we experience of life and of the universe; the broader we are, the more transcendent we are. Now the power to will is the converse of the will to power. In the will to power, we will to that power; whereas my phrase, power to will, which by the way, I came to that phrase before I had even read Nietzsche relates to the very power towards which we will; which is that ultimate principle that makes it possible to actually will, whatever that power is.
All right. so that's the intellectual background of what I'm about to tell you. Now you know, over the years in my transcendent session, I'm always striving to reach the ultimate of everything, the oneness, the meaning. I use all these terms in an attempt to click into It somehow or other; and I've even used the Power to will concept in the past on and off; but nothing much happens. I've tried to go the Zen way of not thinking of anything; and other means in vain. And you know I've had two ultimate pure-conscious experiences; but they just happened to me; I don't know where they came from. I had no control over them. But what we're talking about is that we do have control over this blessing, this beatitude; so how do we go about that? How do we trigger into this Vastness in us?
Well, coming right to the matter hand now, the other night, having awakened at 3:30 in the morning, and not being able to get back to sleep, I started getting my mind into a transcendent mode I almost always do that a little before I fall asleep. And the power to will came to me again; and so I thought, let's try that again. In the past when I've tried this thought of the power to will, it does blank out my mind of, however momentarily, of my own thoughts. When I think of the meaning of the word "power" in the phrase "power to will," my mind tries to get into that power, which is a purity, which is not willing at all; it's that which determines the willing, whether it is conscious or unconscious or instinctual willing, whatever it may be.
So, this time, the other night, I did go into a sense of blanking out everything except this purity; but it doesn't last long; my mind always comes back to my willing this or that thought or image.
But something happened this time that I got into that state of power, the power to will; that means I tried to get into that state in which determines my willing. In which case, I don't deliberately, or intentionally will any thought or feeling; and I just kind of blank them out as much as I can, and suspend my mind into it. Well, I was going through that process, and something new happened to me, that came to me that this is the answer! the way into this pure state of our eternality through this sense of power to will!. Not just power; it makes no connection to anything mystic; it's remote, it's distinct, it's out there; like the Zen people who say don't think of anything, empty your mind of all contents, and you'll be in touch with what's pure. But something essential is missing in such a practice; there's no connection to the emptying your mind with the pure state; whereas with the power to will, there is a connection: your willing is your thinking mind, and the power to will is that which makes you think. So there is a relationship between the mind and the soul, so to speak. You have to back out of that deliberate conscious thinking and try to blend into this power which makes you think. And be doing that, you're in contact with this Power.
As I was going into it, however momentarily each time I would come out of it and start thinking again; and I'd repeat the phrase, power to will, power to will, trying to get back into an empty state of mind consciously speaking, of course I got these odd surrealistic images, like two teddy bears floating together in the sky, stranger faces, and so forth. I've told you often in the past about that twilight time just before I'm about to fall asleep, I'd see all these psychedelic imagery of the oddest swirling colors and shapes, and faces of things and animals and human beings that would just be there without my evoking them. And I never was one whose normal imagination functioned in such wild imagery. And do you remember when I would tell you that I would hear such tremendous classical unheard of music in my head before I would fall asleep; and I have no sense of musicianship other than I love music overall. Where did all that come from? It never happened until my middle years. It's been always the most fascinating unresolved mystery to me - until now, it seems.
So I thought the other night, This is what the surrealists were trying to reach, and were able to, individually in a temporary manner. Their minds were attuned to that altered, surreal state of consciousness, and they wrote and drew about it. But then it would have to become contrived after a while, because apparently no one has been able to stay in that altered state continuously shy of mind-altering drugs, that is. Much the same with me in different periods of my writing and reflecting life. At one time I was in a period of nature poetry writing when the verses just poured out of me, with hardly an effort at all except for polishing. and then it was over; and I never have been able to write such poetry again; and it would be contrived of me to try to. At another time in my life, I was in a dream analysis phase, and I remembered and recorded practically all of my dreams, and made some amazing discoveries. Yet that period ended, and I hardly ever remember, except fragmentarily, my dreams any more.
To return to my course of thought, it's one thing to say I want to empty my mind and reach this power in me; but you can't just do that; you have to know what you're doing and what you're doing is being in contact with the eternal flow, the meaning, of everything; the power that makes everything exist, that is existence. And I also understood for the first time Kazanzakis' writings about the blood of our ancestors flowing in our veins; and that we must use every drop of that blood to try to make God conscious of itself in us and through us. God is screaming in each of us to be known. We must justify everyone's past existence with all its suffering and cruelties to make God conscious through us. Now I understand what he meant.
Relatedly, in this power to will this Power is the meaning of everything; and in this meaning is everything that has ever been. And it's a flow; and everything and everybody is there not physically, but in structural form, a potentiality, as I see it. And in this flow just imagine, now; of course this is speculation, in a way; but in this flow is everything that has ever been, that will ever be, and ever is. And you get in contact with it, in one sense, you might see individual " figments of your imagination"; and in another sense, you might see - and I use "see" in the sense of our so-called third eye everything in one totality, in all possibilities, then being in this flow, this Power, is just pure, sheer, power because our mind's cannot go into that bare abstraction so much, we see surreal images; all of a sudden a person will appear something or someone that you've never seen before, or a past event of your own life, and so on forever.
So, it's like, in this Power that wills everything is everything, is the whole world. And if we can just click into it, we become that world either in a individual mode of mental forms or a universal mode of formlessness a pure state of consciousness or power. This is where you come from, where you are, where you're going to be, where everything meets into one, the eye of the needle.
I thought, If all this is true, what a salvation for people. So if we're able to get into this universal flow, this eternal reality, and to begin its understanding, and its development in ourselves and in others, you can go into this world when you're suffering, when you don't want to be here, you just shift into this other world. You know that at night, when the day is over, however humdrum, or terrible, your life may be; that at night, when you're alone, after the kids and spouse are asleep, you can enter your world: a world that is eternally real, and so more real than the shadow reflection of it. I'm reminded of Lennon's lines in his gorgeous song "Across the Universe": Nothing's gonna change my world. He knew.
So if we knew that this transcendent world, Power, was more real than this life, and that we could just shift into that world whenever we wanted, that would give us a strength to carry on; would give a meaning to our lives, that my particular meaning is the same meaning as the meaning of the world.
My wife: "Sort of like the edge of reality?"
The edge of reality?
My wife: "Between this reality and the other? Where you were? Where you went? where you saw all these things?"
To me that's the eternal reality, that oneness, that we experience now and then; that's that bliss state, the pure-consciousness, the psychedelic, the surrealistic, the mystic experiences, the LSD experience, the near-death experiences, and so on. And you wonder, how can this eternal reality be all these things, when it is one. Perhaps many people just get an intimation of it, because of their particular cast of mind. But It's everything; and according to one's particular mind and experiences and physiology and receptivity is how one will experience it. Now, I'm able to experience some of the surrealistic imagery inherent to this power; but I'm not too interested in that phase of this universal reality; I want to get right to the totality of everything without imagery. That's the way my mind works; but depending on my condition at a particular time, I will see surrealistic imagery.
So all this stems from this phrase "power to will," which has been with me since 1969 and has never left me. And when Nietzsche wrote that the essence of the world is the will to power; well, he just missed it a little bit; but he certainly was closer to the truth than everybody else.
[Self-love In a negative sense]
27. The log in our eye. It is hard, sometimes even impossible, to be understanding, much less sympathetic, toward those whose faults and weaknesses we do not possess ourselves; and which, if we judge too harshly, blind us to our own.
28. More a matter of self. Are we really as sociable as we appear, as we think we are? Or are what drive us out into society the need to be seen, to make an impression, to gain an advantage to get away from ourselves: the "ourselves" we can like only if others do.
29. How delicately we must tip-toe
when dealing with the human ego.
30. Can't deny it. Ah, me, even my show of humility has the taint of pride.
31. Shifting sands. Today man seems to me such an incredibly wonderful being; everyone is so friendly, so caring, so good. But tomorrow?
32. A matter of true interpretation. "You're too nice a person to say no," sounded more to the truth like, "You're too weak a person to say no."
33. An honest assessment. Could it be that our loving-kindness not infrequently serves to avert the displeasure,or anger, or wrath, or judgment, of others? Let us be honest with ourselves.
34. Male sham. Behind his stern and austere, bearded visage is just another man shot through with vanity, greed, foibles, failings, insecurities, needs, impulses, anxieties, lusts, fears, weaknesses of all kinds. No one special.
35. Softening the blow. She said it in humor, but meant it in truth.
36. A matter of convenience. Last night he showed such concern that I was ill being conveniently with me; but today, though I'm still ill, such little concern being conveniently absent from me!
37. Veils of strength. Behind the veil of my strong security lies always the dungeon of my lone insecurity.
38. A subtle inversion of meaning. I see through her. She thinks she's doing me a favor in asking to do her a favor. Very subtle, my dear.
39. What I once did for her as a favor she now expects of me as an obligation. No wonder I'm wary of her.
40. The general attitude. "Be nice. Give me what I want; don't interfere with my pleasure; respect my rights, hands off my property; don't act superior to me. Keep these in my mind, and we'll get along just fine.
41. Could it be that our loving-kindness not infrequently serves to avert the displeasure, or anger, or wrath, of others? Let us be honest with ourselves.
42. Fearing to upset another's feelings often upsets our own.
43. We know what we tend to think of others when they become "down-and-out" as not so special after all, not so worthy of our admiration anymore, not even worth our associating with. This is one reason why we dread ever to fall into such a situation, for we know others will think the same of us. Is it so surprising then people would do almost anything, however improper or unjust, to maintain their positions, to feel and present themselves as important, of value, needed, admired, honored?
44. Not what I expected. I asked her to feel free to criticize; and when she did, I resented it!
45. For the pleasure of self. The pleasure we enjoy on hearing and speaking, or thinking ill of others is simple confirmation of the good opinion we have of ourselves which, I might add, is not too admirable an opinion.
46. The vulnerable cave-in. Yes, you are right, he is making a fool of himself, is not upholding his professional dignity; but what would you do if you were miserably alone in a vacuous existence, quietly desperate for someone anyone to be with, no matter what station in life?
47. Layer upon layer. So as not to be thought too soft, we harden our exterior in defense of our soft interior: a defense we can never seem to build strongly enough.
48. Two perspectives. People appear so very obvious and uncomplicated when viewed in respect to their vital needs, fears, appetites, desires, passions, impulses; yet, so infinitely complex in respect to their myriad sentiments, aspirations, yearnings, quests.
49. NATURE EITHER WAY
Is it our fault that nature blessed us or cursed us with this or that of which we're inclined:
With this or that excess
With this or that oddity,
With this or that oppression,
With this or that destructiveness
With this or that creativeness?
Hardly as anyone would presume.
Are we then not victims of not only our human nature, but of our individual nature as well? "Character is destiny," as the Greek philosopher of old declaimed.
Most likely as anyone would presume.
Yet, is it not our responsibility, our self-respect, to develop or temper that blessing or curse?
If we want to, if we can as anyone would presume?
50. The allurements of the flesh
lead us back to the same old mesh
of habits we strive to transcend;
But find of them we can only mend.
[On Myself in Particular]
51. Self-defense. If I may appear aloof, hard, indifferent, and cold, I am so mostly in defense against the same in others.
52. Deep in trivia. Often when I'm thought to be deep in thought, my mind is on little more than my next meal, or on what I plan to wear the next day, or on what a wonderful person I am...or on some such trivial matter.
53. I know why I sometimes willfully, spitefully, start a quarrel, refuse a kindness, act indifferently so that I may assert my independence, my personality, my freedom of expression, my masculinity, my rights, my aggressiveness. Not a very admirable picture of myself; but certainly a natural one.
54. Strike first! I had better intimidate him before he intimidates me.
55. In need of praise. I complimented her as an incentive for her to compliment me.
56. Said for Effect Only
Forgive me, dear, I did not mean it;
I said it only for effect.
Without reflection I wield my wit
A habit hard for me to correct,
As my vanity is hard to check.
57. Two sides of the same coin.
i. Just look at the way he behaves; how disgusting! Look at the way I just behaved; how disgusting.
ii. The very thing I criticized her for yesterday is the very thing I feel myself inclined to do today.
58. Self-love in the way. Where are the tender feelings I once knew? Do they still exist in me? Why am I so bland most of the time while others feel so intensely. Have I lost my sensitivity? Has the coarseness of reality blunted my sensibilities; or is it that my defenses have damned them shut so that I don't effuse with vain outpourings from my hurting heart? ... Or is it that I'm just too wrapped up in myself? No doubt, this latter.
59. Oh, it is hard to keep oneself in check, to strive for goodness against so many faults; to aspire to feel and love deeply, sensitively, when so much indifference prevails.
60. I shrink when complimented that I am a good man. I know better.
61. I curse my memory when I can't remember, but bless it when I dare not remember.
62. I shudder that I would think what I just thought. Am I that vile?
63. I leave others to their peculiarities; I have my own.
[The Man-Woman Attraction]
1. Feminine force. She smiles at me, and I feel my masculinity.
2. Natural Gender Traits
Ah, me, how she enjoys her femininity!
How she revels in it!
How she stirs me by it!
3. Love or lust. When my genitalia are roused by a woman, then I know I want her body; when, however, my heart caves in, then I know I want her soul.
4. Bio-psychological differences. The natural differences between the strengths of the masculine man and the vulnerabilities of the feminine woman, enchant the sensuous mind and rouse the organic body.
5. More than a woman. Thank God for women! gentle soothers of us restless men. They bring us light and peace to quell the storm-tossed dark of our troubled minds. If only they were all we needed!
6. A woman's device. The one sure way a woman can win over her vulnerable man, if tears will not do it, is to be unable to rise from bed the next day: face drawn, body drained, emotionally distraught stricken! And all because of him!. That should do it.
A man's device. As women know how to get around men, so men too have their little devices, one of which is the favorite "sob story" Convince her that you are the most down-trodden of men, the most unfortunate, the most misunderstood, the loneliest; and watch how gradually her coldness warms, her distance nears, her maternal instincts rouse, her sexual nature stirs. Like butter she melts into your arm and you have her.
7. The soft deception. [Version 1]: Easy for a man to be deceived into thinking that because a woman's features are soft, that her heart is also. [Version 2]: Beware! That you be not deceived into thinking that because a woman is soft-bodied, that she is just as soft-natured.
8. Lust for Sale
keeps social morality ever nervous
by rendering it an age-old service.
9. We're bound from youth to our sexual ways
And nothing on earth can make that faze;
And fortunate are those who escape the fate
of being enslaved by their urge to mate.
10. Reversal of roles. Every man is tested for his strength by a strong woman, and if he is not strong, she will be; though at the same time she will damn his frightened little life.
11. A matter of temperature. Yesterday I loved you warmly; today we've quarreled, and now I love you coldly.
12. Weakness of the spirit. Is there one man in a thousand who would not put aside his ideals, his highest vision of God and Truth, to secure the woman he loves. So much for the Oversoul.
13. Female Tormentors
Some women love us in return
While others make us ache and burn;
They tempt us on but do not care,
As we quake inside and tear our hair.
14. Reverse Psychology. Paradoxical, but true, that the dominating woman can only be truly, though secretly, content by being dominated herself; who even yearns to be dominated by man stronger than herself. Did not the Poet put his Midas finger on this type of woman in his Catherine, the shrew? Another thought: Could the same be true of men? of a Hitler or Napoleon type?
15. A Pained Rapture
A feminine smile!
Carefree, full, abandoned, and pert,
Pleasures a man so much it can hurt.
16. She looked at me, hot inviting lust;
And what could I do but kiss and thrust.
17. Eros' master design. We men know through long experience how very vulnerable we are to the natural beauty and grace of women, but has it ever occurred to us that we can be just as vulnerable to their natural goodness !? that their goodness can be just as bewitching as their soft femininity; that, quite as a matter of a fact, it is their goodness which so emphasizes their womanliness: that beam of their soul which dispels all our defenses, and which transforms even the homeliest woman into a goddess in our eyes? who would have thought of it! that goodness too is part and parcel of Eros' master design! Beauty I knew to be his stock and trade...but goodness too!? God, is there no way out? Is nothing exempt from that little fellow?
18. A Race of Voluptuaries
When we consider that all of us,
men and women alike,
are attracted to, attached to,
curvaceous colorful forms
rapturous melodious tones,
sweet enticing fragrances,
rich succulent tastes,
warm embracing bodies
there is little else to conclude
but that we are a race of voluptuaries.
19. More self than woman. She needs a man who is more a man than she is a woman.
20. Sympathetic interplay. I gaze at her, warmly and lovingly, to elicit a soft and affectionate smile from her.
21. Loving Arms
With my arms around her
she sighed deeply and said,
"This is so very soothing,
against the world out there."
22. An affectionate gesture. While walking together, she reaches over to straighten my collar, and in so doing, her fingers touch the nape of my neck. At the touch, I feel a warm flow of affection toward her-in no way related to sex; since she is much older than I, unattractive to me erotically, with nothing between us except a mutual friendliness and understanding. Then why the pleasure of her touch?...No, it was not so much her touch as it was that she felt free and relaxed enough with me to make that gesture of straightening my collar, which indicated her fondness for me. Before, I could say that I liked her; at that moment, I felt that I did. All the difference in the world.
23. A Possible Saving Grace
Thank God you are only human,
neither perfect nor pure,
else your loss would afflict me
more than I could endure.
24. Beyond Words
Dear one, I love you so very much,
so very much more than words can mean;
but only words can convey my love
when we're apart, or when we'll be gone.
25. Ah, my dear, I feel my love for you deep
When by sorrow or pain you're made to weep;
Then am I turned into ardent heat,
As my soul reaches out for yours to meet.
26. Be rest assured. Have you wondered lately whether you still love your spouse? Well, you do, perhaps more than you think, or feel, if you look forward to seeing her, him, after every working day.
27. A question of love. What once annoyed me about her no longer does. Do I love her more or less?
28 That electric curent. Ah, the sexes! Nature Almighty! What a mysterious wonder! My bare arm brushes against a woman's bare arm, and I feel a current of love (sexual?) energy course through me at that moment. I didn't even see her face No such touch of a man could ever do the same to me except in a milder form when I touch one of my sons. With my wife well, it's a foregone conclusion that I melt in warmth when I touch her skin...after all these years! But a total stranger? Just the touch and knowing it was a woman. I don't get it.
OF HUMAN BONDAGE
[The sentiment of affection]
29. While walking together, she reaches over to straighten my collar, and in so doing, her fingers touch the nape of my neck. At the touch, I feel a warm flow of affection toward her in no way related to sex; since she is much older than I, unattractive to me erotically, with nothing between us except a mutual friendliness and understanding. Then why the pleasure of her touch?...No, it was not so much her touch as it was that she felt free and relaxed enough with me to make that gesture of straightening my collar, which indicated her fondness for me. Before, I could say that I liked her; at that moment, I felt that I did. All the difference in the world.
30. A moment of oneness with all that man is. 0h, I do love man in his humanness! Yes, even in his perversity, his wickedness! But I love mankind most when I feel at one with it; and I feel most at one with man when he lives in truth and beauty, in peace, in sincerity, in moral courage, and in all those fine traits that glorify, unite, and justify our race.
31. Not up to my ideal. Yes, I have moments of tenderness, of that "loving feeling" but not enough of these moments, I'm afraid, to offset my hardness of heart, my indifference, my self-engrossment.
32. Self-protection. I am presently working at being indifferent to other people's indifference to me.
33. A nonentity. Oh, it can sear and pang us to be ignored, to matter nothing, it seems, to anyone; as though our presence could as well be absent. Self-pity engulfs us to tears almost; and to the child in us we again revert, pouting that nobody loves us, that nobody cares.
34. Sympathetic interplay. I gaze at her, warmly and lovingly, to elicit a soft and affectionate smile from her.
[The tragic sense of life]
35. Yes, I'll die, but I'll never know it being dead; that is a consolation. But now I feel death's drear breath shuddering my nerves: nothingness! and this distresses me to the bone.
36. Farewell, farewell, my fading youth,
soon oh, much too soon
you will depart from me;
no more will I be the vibrant flaming verve,
no more the body beautiful.
Over the peak of vitality
unto the descent of debility.
Farewell again my beloved youth,
my preening pride,
my short-lived companion,
the youth I thought would always be.
37. In Every Mind
A teeming world is in every mind
Of ego-thoughts of every kind
Shaping each person's destiny
Toward what he will or will not be.
A steaming world is in every mind
Of seared emotions of every kind
Driving one often against his will
To acts productive of much ill.
A streaming world is in every mind
Of ways and means of every kind
To be ensured that one is needed,
Secure, comfortable, and heeded.
A gleaming world is in every mind
Of sentiments of every kind
Ennobling the human spirit
With glimmers of the Infinite.
38. Alone we suffer, alone we die,
in the dread confinement of our souls
though others may love us,
though others may care.
39. The pale cast of death. The hollow, wan, darkened death-resigned eyes of an aging, ailing man; who just a short while past was alert, beaming, and well.
40. Two Attitudes
Suffering he sees as part of life
and so feels little for those who suffer
as they feel little of anything for him.
Suffering she sees as part of life
and so feels much for those who suffer
as they feel deeply at one with her.
41. She's gone from life
after these many years of loving companionship;
and here am I alone with myself,
left to myself,
feeling abandoned, disoriented,
of no importance to anyone;
not a soul cares!
Alone, afraid, empty,
bereft of all human comfort.
A dull thud of despair verges me
unto the fringe of nothingness,
depriving me of all the colors of life.
Chrysanthemums on the dining room table
Drooping with age after a thriving life
Reminding me of my very same fate.
Chrysanthemums on the dining room table
One day more and now are withered
Reminding me of my very same fate.
Chrysanthemums on the dining room table
The final day and are in rigor mortis
Reminding me of my very same fate.
43. Ah, my darling precious one,
I try but cannot love you more;
For age has drained me to the core,
Is edging me into oblivion.
We've lived together long and close,
Have loved each other strong and true;
But now I've nothing left for you;
I'm feeble, frightened, and morose.
44. No solace. What, tell me, pierces parents more with sorrow than having had taken from them by ruthless death their darling, lovable child: radiant with gaiety and with ebullient, innocent mischievousness? What leaves behind a pallor more somber, an emptiness more void? What turns the spring of their lives forever into cold and barren winter?
45. The Child at Her Skip
A child skipping along her way
Carefree in her singsong sway.
46. A Cry Out Loud
Why?! ... Why?!
Why must we die?!
THE HARD NATURES
[The hard-natured person]
1. The futile impulse. Are there not some people who are so casehardened that you feel impelled to reach in and wring their hearts, exclaiming, "Feel! you callous one; melt a little, you block of ice!
2. Family Lies
Father, brother, daughter, sister, or son;
It makes no difference,
When all is said and done;
For different natures clash asunder
While the darker one
Has the fairer one for plunder.
3. The predator. He raises his own worth by lowering the worth of others. Some man he is!
4. The Insidious One
His pleasantries are said in guile
While undermining you with a smile.
5. The aggressors prey on the meek through fear and force; while the meek, in their own fashion, prey on the aggressors through a show of passive helplessness and need.
6. That which repels me does sometimes insidiously, seductively, frighteningly, attract me, God!
7. Not too close. With some people you dare not draw too near, for they will hiss and frown, snarl and snap, and reduce you to a fool for caring. Socially, they appear so warmly engaging, polite and helpful and even sympathetic until the least familiarity turns their warmth to icy cold.
8. Beautiful face, ugly soul. She is such a pretty child, but whose obnoxious behavior deforms her into an ugly, little imp.
9. Difference of attitude. As I am inclined to like people, she is inclined to dislike them.
10. Strike first. I had better intimidate him before he intimidates me.
11. A mean streak. Notice with what goodwill she treats her friends and passing acquaintances; and yet with what ill will she behaves toward her mother who has only the best will toward her.
12. In name only. He paid his last respects to his departed friend and stole his wallet!
13. The short fuse. Yes, to be sure, he is a man of "infinite patience," a paragon of goodwill; but with one exception don't cross him!
14. Her worst enemy. Only insidious age will blunt the edge of her native insolence as it ravages her beauty.
15. I sense he is disputing with me now not from difference of opinion, but from sheer spite
Pity the man bound to a wife
Who harrows him with domestic strife
Whose rancor cuts him through like a knife.
Her disdain for all that's dear to him
Has sunk his spirit, wearied his limbs;
Still, he indulges her every whim.
Kept from his friends and family,
She guards him as under lock and key
While misspending all his hard-earned salary.
And more to add to his distress,
She's done what anyone could guess:
Broken their bond through faithlessness.
And yet for all his suffering,
He fears to leave her odious sting
Lest his world dissolve to nothing.
43. From hatred to strife. He glares at me with seething hatred; how fiercely he would like to batter me for depriving him of his little pleasure. So continues always one ineradicable source of human strife.
44. The predator. He raises his own worth by lowering the worth of others. Some man he is.
45. Stern advice. The way to get along with him is to agree with him.
46. Should I be too good to you for your sake
would be much too sugary for you to take;
What's needed to keep your love and respect
Is a good dash of pepper meant for effect.
The Image of Evil
1. Evil is a dance wild on the precipice of chaos.
2. How we thrill, chill, vicariously to the portraits of evil, conflict, criminality, rage, violence, murder, revenge', lust, destruction, malice of all kinds as represented in film and literature. How these representations ease the tensions of our own wicked and destructive propensities normally guarded under the lock and key of culture.
3. Oh, yes, depravity: Evil's relaxation disgusts, nauseates delicate stomachs...and yet...and yet...
4. The heart of darkness in man speaking. "Life's horrors in bloodshed have driven me mad, have driven me into the asylum of Evil itself. Quick! I thirst. Pass me my goblet of blood."
5. The surging, fierce blood-fire to snap the life out of a helpless, whining victim, catches one at the throat; and only a stroke of sanity left in the mind could deter him.
6. Evil strides and struts across the world in iron boots trampling and grinding to a pulp the good that would, be done. Fortunate for the world it has only two feet!
7. "Kill! Kill! Bloodshed! Bloodshed! Death to All! All power to me!" Thus saith the Evil One frothing in diabolic glee.
8. Evil is such a sneak. It hovers behind closed doors, haunts dark alleys, strikes from behind, and below the belt.
9. Being the perpetrator of evil is light years away from being its victim.
10. In the most scrupulous bourgeois you could tap treasures of duplicity, hatred, malice, depravity, and who knows what else, concealed in the cellar of their souls. There, their wild dogs can be heard barking to get free.
11. Evil speaking: "I terrify the world and loose its bowels. Fear is my tongue of fire, destruction my sword of death. I dance in orgiastic abandon, and sing song of chaos. I mock your ideals and make war on your peace. Be either my friend or my foe; in either case, I'm out to destroy you. Only the warrior of the soul do I respect; and even him, I will bring to his knees at the least sign of weakness All others I will hound to the grave. I am the invincible one.
12. Blood-lust: The crazed shark attack of evil.
13. "Who cares," "What does it matter in the long run," "Everything is permitted," "So what if others get hurt," "I'll get even," "I don't give a damn anymore," Oh, how the force of Evil revels in such nihilistic utterances, how it loves when humans sink so low in despair. and nothing pleases Evil more than for a person to carry out these utterances in deed. "Do it, do it!"
14. Depravit : the slime of Evil.
15. Evil to polite society : "Yes, you fear and despise me, thinking thereby that you will shame me into staying my distance. Fools! I am everywhere at all times: in you, in front of you, behind you particularly in your dreams where I am free to commit, through your unconscious consent, the most diabolical and lustful acts that ever entered man's mind. Were it not for your cultural sanctions, I would annihilate you all! But, then again, I take glee in the rules you set up against me, as I enjoy nothing more than breaking them. No, you don't get around me so easily, my friends! True, all your legal and moral sanctions restrain you from committing the major outrages in my name: murder, treachery, mayhem, resentment these are my kinsmen too, didn't you know. So, please, don't put on moral airs of righteousness in my presence, if you don't mind, I know you better better than you know yourself.
16. Evil washes itself in the slime of human degradation. How the pungent and foul odor of its bath water invites us into the tub.
17. A: Don't speak to me of evil; I want to be good, I want to love, I want to be
beautiful of soul. Give me purity before all else.
B: Yes, I know; you want to mock the evil genius in you. But it is on to your
little game; after all, it created it: the game of now-be-good-now-be-bad.
18. Hypocrisy, bigotry, envy, greed, malice, ingratitude, arrogance, snobbery, are just some qualities reducible to a single term... Yes, you guessed it: our enemy and friend, Lord Evil.
19. Dionysian desecration. Salome's dance of the seven veils for the head of the Baptist, John, to be delivered on a silver platter.
20. Oh, how the ministers and slaves of Evil smack their lips in sheer relish at the distress and misfortune of others, for then they know that these innocents have fallen victim to their master and lord. And even keener the pleasure, is in masking their relish as "sincere" concern and sympathy; this addition of deception tingles them all the more.
21. The quintessence of evil speaking through a lost soul : "Now that I have spent these many years in the construction and creativity of my life, let me straightway destroy it in one stroke, or piecemeal, as it suits my humor. What have I to do with solidarity or consistency."
22. Observe the unadulterated, primitive delight so many children take in their little cruelties toward anything or anyone who is helpless, abnormal, deformed, or different from the norm in a glaring way. And note further, the sheer pleasure they take in watching their fellows being punished, deserved or not. Is this not evil at its more innocent play?
23. Frenzy, ferocity, darkness, chaos, annihilation, nothingness, blind will some further connotations for the force in the world we denominate as evil
24. Speak of tranquility, "inner peace," purity, goodness, to one settled in the darkness of evil, and you will be sure to incur his aversion, if not his odium; though not necessarily in the open, of course.
25. Greed: The highwayman of evil.
26. Scoundrel, blackguard, riffraff, guttersnipe, hoodlum, crook, murderer, cutthroat, traitor, all SS officers in the service of Evil enforcing their havoc on the moral order of the living.
27. Evil is the fascination of the world. It whirls us into its kaleidoscopic colors of the nether world of forbidden enchantments that put both our respectability and life on the line.
28. Evil speaking to the weary, desperate sold lost in the confusion and ignorance of the mind:"Come to me, my sons and daughters in darkness; let me soothe you in sweet forgetfulness and inertia; let me turn out that scorching light that gives you no answers. All I request of you is to destroy your emotional balance. And this you can do through my favorite remedies: alcohol, gluttony, opiates, debauchery, indolence, severance of all human comfort and love, hopelessness, futility, and all such means to wean you from your humanity. And if you are fortunate enough, you will go mad, as did one of my favorites, Nietzsche."
29. Those darkened by their evil tendencies disdain all show of light that promises relief, tranquility, joy, freedom. They have fallen prey to psychic destruction either by nature, choice or through victimization. Even God himself could not save them.
30. Those much prone to evil, destruction, can be just as nauseated by good as the good are by evil.
31. The sadist: The SS stormtrooper of Evil.
32. Gossip, backbiting, tale bearing, these we know as not very respectable pastimes; but, oh, how dull life would be if no one at all, or only a very few, engaged in them! And, yes, people are hurt by them, and even ruined; but these are the evils that are to inevitably follow if mankind is not to be bored out of its skin and boredom we know to be one of the worst banes to afflict man.
33. The true ensign of Evil would never justify his acts as right. No, he knows them to be wrong, that they break the canons of human trust, solidarity, decency, and love. He takes bounding pride in this knowledge. "How rare a person am I!" he preens himself, "How unique! How bold! How terrible!"
34. We refuse to hear we dare not hear! or even think for a moment that we too might be capable of the worst atrocities, of the lowest degradation imaginable. Oh, no, not us! we are far too rational, far too moral, far too sympathetic, a person for that so speaks that delicate flower, reason, while our underlying sea monster of irrationality smiles on wryly.
35. Evil disunites, disperses, disintegrates, destroys; thereby preparing the ground for unity, integration, creation-the eternal cycle of love then strife.
PATHICS OF EVIL
1. The term pathics is the collective term for either of three types of hard-natured persons who do evil destruction, breaking down or malice, upon their fellow man. The type of the person's natural tendencies, will determine in general whether he or she is a psychopath, sociopath, or narcipath (narcissist).
In reading these pathic verses, and any other book dealing with this matter of the "mean ones," to use this simplistic phrase for now the commonplace terms applied to them are "psychopath," "sociopath," and "narcissist." These terms are commonly used interchangeably, and so can be confusing as to the degree of meanness in any one person and his behavior.
The term "pathic" then will be used in this book as the comprehensive, generic, meaning for those
2. Accordingly, my wife came up with a comprehensive term that includes all three terms; yet, distinguishes the degree of meanness entailed by each of the terms. The term "pathics" is this comprehensive term that includes the sociopath, the psychopath, the narcipath I will modify the term , "narcissist" to "narcipath" so that the suffix, "path," is consistent with the other two terms, as well as to avoid the various connotations, favorable and otherwise, of the term narcissist.
3. If we consider the term "evil" generically as meaning destructive, the breaking down of good, justice, love, peace (peace of mind, as well), then we can define these three variants of pathics in the following general way: The narcipath does evil (deliberate harm) for the sake of self aggrandizement; the sociopath does evil for the sake of dominance over others; and the psychopath does evil for the sake of evil, or more particularly, of malice.
1. I feign an interest in what you say
So you will buy for me and want to pay.
2. Not from the act do I feel regret,
But that from you nothing did I get.
3. I cannot feel for anyone's pain
I'd just as soon cause it for my own gain.
4. I glare at you with eyes of ice
Which is my reptilian satanic device
Of cutting you down slice by slice.
5. You think I love you because I say so
When it's control I want much to your woe.
6. I see you need a friend in me;
Too bad! You've lost yourself to win me.
7. I'm as rational and delusional free
As you witness my open normalcy;
But be careful! I'll warn you not:
I'm looking always for you softest spot.
8. Don't I just look like the "real thing";
Well-adjusted, and pleasant as can be;
Yet underneath lies my conspiracy
To undermine whoever is controlling.
9. Of robust, mental health I appear,
Not your typical mutineer;
And so I am what you do see
Though on the surface; not under me.
10. They called me "bully" as a kid
And punished me for what I did;
I soon learned well as I grew up
To pretend to be a docile pup.
11. "Seem" is the guise that earmarks my life;
I seem to love; yet what I love is strife.
12. They say I've no conscience, and that's for sure;
And for that lack there is no cure.
13. My wit and my charm
Are meant to disarm
As I wield my way
Scheming day after day.
14. Yes, I wear my "mask of sanity";
But can it be said I'm not really sane?
Or is it that I'm so uncanny
That even insanity I'd feign?
15. Come now! Do you think I care a jot
Just because I say I love you a lot?
16. For my misdeeds my ultimate goal
Is to weave disorder and count my toll.
17. You build it and I'll destroy it
And you can be sure I'll truly enjoy it.
18. I know I've got you by the tail
When by my charms your defenses fail.
19. Psychopath they'd call me if they but knew
What I am in truth and what I do,
20. As I weave my deviant ins and outs
At every opportunity's whereabouts.
21. I scorn your goodness while I play my part
In seeming good: my consummate art.
22. I'll tell you a secret you ought to know:
I have no self to which you can go.
23. My style is to hit below the belt,
And to strike a blow behind your back;
So, you'd better learn how to first attack
Before you experience the cards I've dealt.
24. How I thrill to catch you off guard;
Just when you think me soft, I turn hard.
25. Sexual conquest is me at my best:
To seduce you winningly at your behest.
26. A part of me is my changes of mood
My favorite one being when I brood.
27. Conflict for me is serious business;
It defines me in all my dirty mess.
How nice I am to you right now;
But please be fooled, it's my natural ploy:
To act myself as a pleasant decoy
For as much of me that I'll allow.
28. Does the way I talk, all agitated-like
As though each word is like a strike
Make you nervous and out of sorts
Without a rudder or any supports?
29. Ruining lives by inflicting pain
Is my delight and well-earned gain.
1. Christendom's paradox. Christ forgave his persecutors, and Christians have been persecuting the Jews ever since.
2. Existential Self-freedom
To accept life nobly as it is,
And man in all his artifice,
All judgment one must then dismiss
And all illusions of heavenly bliss.
3 When I observe man at his worst, a tragic sadness sinks my soul; and yet I know that I am man, and so cannot presume myself as righteously beyond reproach. What all man is, what all he does, I share the responsibility.
4 A Matter of Preference. O I do love man in his humanness! Yes, even in his perversity, his wickedness! But I love mankind most when I feel at one with it; and I feel most at one with man when he lives in truth and beauty, in peace, in sincerity, in moral courage, and in all those fine traits that glorify, unite, and justify our race.
5 Love of love. Why does my chest heave, my eyes moisten, to see people embrace in affectionate love, to see goodness of heart prevail?
6 Away from the world of men and women I turn
to save myself,
And back to the world of men and women I turn
to feel myself.
7. A Sympathetic Ear
A little human warmth,
a little concern,
a little encouragement,
have magically lifted the pall of my apathy.
8. Our own barriers. It is hard, sometimes even impossible, to be understanding, much less sympathetic, toward those whose faults and weaknesses we do not posses ourselves; and which, if we judge too harshly, blind us to our own.
9. Into deep recesses. When I look deep into the eyes of people through the quiet repose of their countenances, to the hidden corners of their being; I then forget for the moment their arrant ways, and consider their better parts, their vulnerabilities, their desperations. I do not judge them at such times.
10. In our own image. Not until we cease trying to mold others into our image of what we deem right and good, proper and true, will we come even within distance of understanding our fellow man not to mention ourselves.
1. Goodwill is love particularized, is love in moral action.
2. Goodwill: A kindly feeling: well-wishing, benevolence, friendliness; a will acting freely from pure
disinterested motives; an open, charitable attitude, without reservation or bitterness; a willingness to be
fair-minded or impartial; good intention; virtuous inclination or disposition; cheerful consent; heartiness; readiness to help, to share.
3. Goodwill is the man of action's religion.
4. Goodwill is to be applied not only to others but to oneself as well especially toward oneself!
5. A person of goodwill is always ready for a smile she can't help herself. He brightens the day just as does the sun; but she has one advantage over the sun: she even brightens a sunless day.
6. Goodwill is love anthropomorphized.
7. She of goodwill surely gets angry, but never in spite or resentment, or rancor. Good-willed anger is anger justified and gauged rightly.
8. Goodwill can't but help being on the verge of joyful tears of love and sympathy toward everyone worthy of it.
9. Goodwill is just that: willed goodness goodness strong and directed; goodness wrapped in refined
judgment and subtle sensitivity.
10. The man-woman of goodwill suffers, grieves, yes; but his goodwill toward himself will not permit him to despond in his pain.
11. Goodwill is not in the least concerned with being right all the time; what is being right in comparison to
freedom from psychic tension? Goodwill fears not in the least being silly, childlike, sentimental, demonstrative; for these responses recapture the spontaneous, simple innocence of the child that stays within us all through our lives, however stifled.
12 "Oh happy! happy!" cries out goodwill: "Be happy! Be happy! It is your inheritance. Put away pettiness, enlarge yourself."
13 Not a giggling, bubbling, saccharine goodwill, but a goodwill of effervescence, wit, and grace.
14 Consideration is the scepter of goodwill's rule.
15 Goodwill inspires love...or is it love that inspires goodwill...or is it both ways?
16 Love does not always touch; but goodwill does; it is here and now and immediate.
17 Goodwill is the true incentive for self-refinement.
18 Goodwill is patient above all else.
19 "Put on your fool's cap and bells," teaches our prophet, Nietzsche, "Go to wreck!" he declaims. Who cares about money! about security! about possessions! Give me goodwill, and all else will fall into place "for rich or for poor, in health and in sickness, in life or in death."
20 Sing! Dance! Kick up your heels! Have the time of your life! for your goodwill frees you unto this innocence.
21 What's that! You take me for a fool? A naive simpleton of love? You in your taut austerity? If only you knew with what wisdom I make my way in my foolishness. Do you not see that I have the absurdity of life by its tail that I have overcome it! I have overcome myself!
22 Free yourself! Smile inside as well as outside in goodwill toward all yes, even your enemy him especially. And not in order to "pour hot coals on his head," but in order to make him smile too.
23 Goodwill gives you the courage to be yourself. No trembling; you say what is to be said firmly and decidedly without anger or animosity.
24 Goodwill activates torpor.
25 Goodwill is the pied piper of humanity. Who, what, can resist its draw?
26 We need not love, in the affectionate sense of the word, those to whom we exercise goodwill.
27 Goodwill relaxes you.
28 Goodwill is gauged by sympathy; for as one sympathizes with another, he cannot but feel as that person feels and so feel the strongest goodwill. To sympathize with one's misfortune is easy; to sympathize with his good fortune harder; to sympathize with one's good is easy too; to sympathize with his evil is much harder; to sympathize with one's politeness is easy, not his rudeness.
29 Let your goodwill fan your anger toward another however justifiable; after all, we all do wrong, are fallible and frail at times; and no one can ever come up to what we expect of them; why we ourselves can't even come near our own ideal image. It's hard, I know; but it must be done.
30 Goodwill is not only acting well toward others, but also feeling the same for them.
31 To hold on to your goodwill can be excruciatingly difficult when the injustice inconsideration etc. of another gets to the blood of you. Then the genuineness of your goodwill is put to the test.
32 Goodwill adds a grace to one's person; in which case, lust upsets this grace, as it is essentially an agitating arousal, mostly blind to anything but its thrust. I need not draw a conclusion here.
33 The practice of goodwill is moral, aesthetic and spiritual all at the same time.
34 The practice of goodwill requires grace, sensitivity, control; lust of all kinds loses these
for the time being.
35 Notice how a dull, somber expression can beam alive with a pleasant show of concern,
affability, and courtesy a gentle smile.
36 Your goodwill can mostly bear with the ill-will or negativism of others, since it is goodwill that is important to one.
37 Calm strength and grace with good will; patience too.
38 You certainly don't always have to be smiling, cheerful you can't be; but you can always be courteous, friendly; and yet even these are not always easy to be.
39 The essence of love (goodwill): "I don't want to unfairly, or selfishly, hurt anyone's feelings."
40 Goodwill is a sunny word, cheerful and nimble; and yet awesome as the mighty redwoods. We have not here a sentimentality.
41 Let your goodwill be your strength, your guide, your friend, and your moral beloved.
42 We are to have goodwill even toward life; and that is why it neither desponds nor defeats us.
43 Do you think the goodwill you harbor toward others does not apply to your loved ones at home.
44 I may not always be pleasant; but I will not be rude.
45 Goodwill is love put in practice. It is grace in action.
46 Goodwill can subtly infiltrate ill-will. The "how"-about-it is its secret.
47. In overall sum, goodwill is the morality of love.
1. Moral Pride
When righteousness is too severe
Self-righteousness will domineer
And true sense of right will disappear.
2. Self-control. When I have myself under control is when I feel most in control.
3. My divided self. What I strive to be, and what I am, separate me from myself.
4 Thorn in the side. What is a young idealist who envisions man as essentially moral, aesthetic, spiritual, to think, or hope, when he sees everywhere men and women in service to their palate and genitals himself included?
5. Fragmentation. My sense pleasures I enjoy, my vanity too, even my lusts, as well, in their place. Why then do they trouble me? Do I have the wrong perspective on life?
6. Tides of the mind. What was so fervent this morning is so bland tonight, of no apparent importance at all.
7. The warrior of the soul. It takes an almost superhuman will to keep intact one's higher ideals, one's standards, one's aspirations, against the stark, indifferent, brute facts of reality rushing in on us on all sides human reality, especially; and our individual reality, in particular.
8. No sooner am I sated, and through with keen sense pleasures, than swept away am I again.
9. Both friend and foe. I continually forego my higher aspirations; the world is too much with me or against me, as the case may be.
10. Oh, it is hard to keep oneself in check, to strive for goodness against so many faults; to aspire to feel and love deeply, sensitively, when so much indifference prevails.
11. I shrink when complimented that I am a good man. I know better.
12. My impulses. I say I won't...but I do! I do! Damn!
13. It is hard, sometimes even impossible, to be understanding, much less sympathetic, toward those whose faults and weaknesses we do not possess ourselves; and which if we judge too harshly, blind us to our own.
14. 'Tis devoutly to be wished. I have a dog much loved by me, who eats slowly and sparingly, satisfied with simple pleasures, lives only and fully in the present moment free from all tensions and anxieties; is neither proud nor rancorous; bears no grudges, harbors no resentments; enjoys a romp now and then though free from excess, folly, and mischief; is devoted, faithful, loving, and tractable; stays close to me when I'm ill, cares not whether I am old or ugly; does not insist on her own way, knows what is harmful to her and wisely avoids it; takes no thought of death or dying, is not plagued by groundless fears, is bothered very little by sex, is quiet and tranquil in her ways; wants nothing more than she has, is at peace with herself and the world.
This beautiful soul of a dog epitomizes the very ideals for which I strive, but can hardly maintain!
15. Not until we cease trying to mold others into our image of what we deem right and good, proper and true, will we come even within distance of understanding our fellow man much less ourselves.
16. When righteousness is too severe,
Self-righteousness will domineer
And true sense of right will disappear.
17. No sooner am I sated, and through with keen sense pleasures, than swept away am I again.
18. Thorn in the side. What is a young idealist who envisions man as essentially moral, aesthetic, spiritual, to think, or hope, when he sees everywhere men and women in service to their palate and genitals himself included?
19. "I'll do it this one last time," I tell myself over and over and over again.
20. Aren't I the one! In the same breath that I assure myself I am not going to do such-and-such, my mind is devising to do it.
21. Our "thorn in the side" is perhaps well-founded,
For it keeps us wisely to the earth well-grounded.
22. Ambrosia for the masses. If religion be the opiate of the masses, then surely is sensuality their ambrosia.
23. A Race of Voluptuaries
When we consider that all of us,
men and women alike,
are attracted to, attached to,
curvaceous colorful forms
rapturous melodious tones,
sweet enticing fragrances,
rich succulent tastes,
warm embracing bodies
there is little else to conclude
but that we are a race of voluptuaries.
24. Despite the truth. His sister inadvertently caused the accident. He lies for her and takes the blame upon himself to protect her from disgrace. He could not have acted otherwise despite the truth and still maintain his sense of right, his manly honor, and prove his love for her.
25. More than the truth. I'm sorry, but I just can't tell you the truth in this matter; I think too much of you for that.
26. Being clean-minded, one becomes clear-minded.
27. The moralist's credo. Moral honor before anything; before happiness, before even life itself.
28. In your quest for high morality
Or holy spirituality,
Ease the tension of severity
From your poor and frail humanity
To enjoy a little frivolity
In pleasure's keen sensuality;
But not so much that laxity
Jeopardizes your tranquility
And takes you from your affinity
With, and love for, your true reality.
[Some thoughts on Moral Goodness]
1. Moral goodness, moral virtue, moral obligation, moral duty are the four basic motives for acting morally.
2. A person who acts from moral goodness or moral obligation is motivated primarily intuitively, by loving-kindness or benevolence. A person who acts from moral virtue or from moral duty is motivated primarily by principle, by reason. Both types of motives are not mutually exclusive; meaning, that a morally good person could just as well act from virtue or duty; and so with a morally excellent or duteous person could act from loving-kindness or benevolence. That which distinguishes both individuals as moral-minded is that their main concern is the right act is done for the benefit of the recipient of that act.
4. A morally good person differs from a morally excellent person (virtuous) inasmuch as the latter acts with practical wisdom, the former with practical understanding. In which case the virtuous person would hardly make a mistake in his moral choice, whereas the morally good person could very well err in his moral choice.
5. A further distinction to be made is that between the naturally good person and the morally good person. The morally good person is necessarily naturally good; the naturally good person is not necessarily a moral person.
6. One answer to the question, "What is the morally right thing to do?" is to follow the "wisdom of the species" which has come to us through ages of practical experience. Moderation and courtesy are two such elements of this wisdom.
7. If anything is absolute in ethics, it is that nothing, in ethics, is absolute. Just as men vary in nature, nurture, and mind, so do they vary in outlook, belief, and conduct. This is as self-evident as anything could be.
8. Anyone contemplating the study of ethics has this one axiom to keep ever in mind: that whatever moral statement he may make, or moral position he may take, it carries with it an exception. There will always be someone to interject an "But what if. . .?" or "You are forgetting. . ." or "You fail to see that. . .".
9. Self-respect is an important motive for acting rightly, and should not be confused with self-interest or selfishness. It may not be a moral motive, but it can be a noble one.
10. Yes, we can be taught to be truthful, honest, dutiful, patient; but we cannot be taught the sincerity that make these virtues.
11. It is a commonplace that most of us would much prefer to receive a kindness from love or affection than from some abstract moral principle, such as, duty or moral obligation. Which incentive, then, is of more consequential worth: sentiment or moral right?
12. A moral person is one who does what is right on principle (the Kantian man); the good-hearted person is he who acts through sentiment; and the virtuous or truly good person is he who acts rightly on principle and through sentiment.
13. To say of someone, "He is a very moral person," we might have the tendency to add:"but he is unfeeling," "but he has no sense of mercy," "but he has no compassion," "but he would tell the truth no matter the consequences."
Conversely, to say of someone that he is a good-hearted person, we might be inclined to add: "but he is a fool who is continually being taken advantage of," "He doesn't make distinctions," "He acts on his feelings without thought of the consequences."
These "buts" do not normally apply to the virtuous or morally fine person.
14. "What is the right thing to do?" is the perennial individual moral problem.
1. The nonmoral and moral minded. There are those who demand respect by force of will, and those who command it by force of character.
2. Tainted goodness. I shrink when complimented that I am a good man; I know better. Not that I'm not a good man; It's just that I'm not as good as I appear to others. That they don't see nor know. That I would seriously hesitate to let them see or know!
3. Moral pride
When righteousness is too severe
Self-righteousness will domineer
And true sense of right will disappear.
4. The true motive. Do I really want to help him (moral sympathy); or am I unable to refuse him (moral obligation) or do I dare not refuse him (mortal fear).
5. The way of all flesh. Said to me: "When I'm so tired, I don't care what I should do."
6. The heroic way. Do you feel depressed today? does everything seem dark, futile, foreboding of ill? ...Hold on to yourself! Bear with it, refuse to do now what you know you will later regret. If your condition is not too chronic, tomorrow you will surely recover: feel better, refreshed, alert, more optimistic; and if not tomorrow, then the next day. Be patient, be strong.
7. The warrior of the soul. It takes an almost superhuman will to keep intact one's ideals, standards, and aspirations against the stark, indifferent, brutal facts of reality human reality, especially; and one's own reality, in particular.
8. A woman's morality. A gentle, modest woman of character need not be as morally fastidious (telling the truth all the time, for instance) as a man may be; since she inspires in good part the direction of his moral ideals.
9. Fairness in return. The minimum guarantee of being treated fairly is to be fair oneself.
10. Word of honor. Those who respect their word respect themselves. The converse naturally follows.
11. Self-control. When I have myself under control is when I feel most in control.
12. The Bridle of Morality
Strength of character!
Is that not what we all need
To curb our ego's wayward steed?
13. A moral concern. He wrote this note to his mother asking if she wouldn't mind giving his a particular inspiring tapestry that he inadvertently found stored away: "It is an heroic subject and I would indeed find a feeling of history and strength of character on looking at it."
"So," thought I, "Someone else is concerned with strength of character too." But of course he is, and countless others too. But where are they when we need them!
Awaken you moralists! you teach in vain
So long as men seek power and gain,
So long as pleasure assuages pain.
And when desires of the senses reign,
Who would willingly resist and abstain?
Who would not think moral persuasion inane?
Or those whose lives are a continual bane:
Failure and despair their only domain;
Think you they care for what is humane?
Concerning these truths, two "morals" pertain
Success before goodness men rather obtain;
Sense pleasures first, then moral right in train.
The only hope you perhaps can sustain,
Is that few of your stamp will join your campaign
To live by high standards hard to maintain.
It's true that virtue can't be taught
To those whose blood is burning hot,
Nor to those whose hearts are cold:
Goodness in them cannot take hold,
Except perhaps for personal gain
For this, even goodness they'd feign.
But for natures gentle and good,
Moral training possibly could
Take deep effect in mind and heart,
And give young souls a running start
Toward inner strength and peace of mind
That in this life is so hard to find.
Let them learn by moral example;
And, from wise men's saws, sample
The deeds that in print they exhort
To action through moral effort.
15. Good For or Of You
Yes, that was good for you to have done,
But your motives I feel I must question;
From your deed it does not ensue
That what you did was good of you;
You might not have acted morally,
Nor for any concern for me.
16. Moral Humor
Show me a man of virtue true,
And I will show a saint to you;
But never have I seen a saint,
And if I did I'd surely faint.
17. A breach of love. I'm sorry, but I just can't tell you the truth in this matter; I think too much of you for that.
18. Ethical relativity. Not until we cease trying to mold others into our image of what we deem right and good, proper and true, will we come even within distance of understanding our fellow man much less ourselves.
19. Righteousness Vs Self-righteousness
When righteousness is too severe,
Self-righteousness will domineer
And true sense of right will disappear.
20. A man, or woman, strong in character and purpose radiates his strength to others thereby inspiring them beyond themselves; but with his departure, go also his strength and purpose.
21. Mankind! what a sorry lot
Between good and evil it's besot.
1. The very thing my conscience said no to is the very thing my will said yes to.
2. How Can I?
How can I bear the pain
that I should
when I relish pleasures
that I shouldn't?
How can I bear ugliness
when I am enraptured by beauty
all the time?
Pursued by fears
how can I endure adversity
even a little?
Ever the wit
how can I be serious
3. Thought Or Desire?
To live in thought and not desire
Puts us on a plane much higher
Than on a carnal one afire.
But such heights are too rarified;
Our senses must be gratified,
And so down to earth we backslide.
2. Self-mastery. Again this mood has mastered me. Will ever I master it?
3. Thorn in the side. What is a young idealist who envisions man as essentially moral, aesthetic, spiritual, to think, or hope, when he sees everywhere men and women in service to their palate and genitals himself included?
4. My impulses. I say I won't...but I do! I do! Damn!
5. "I'll do it this one last time," I tell myself over and over and over again.
6. Aren't I the one! In the same breath that I assure myself I am not going to do such-and-such, my mind is devising to do it.
7. Our "thorn in the side" is perhaps well-founded,
For it keeps us wisely to the earth well-grounded.
9. Ambrosia for the masses. If religion be the opiate of the masses, then surely is sensuality their ambrosia.
THE AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE
Man is an aesthetic being
in quest of higher consciousness
of beauty, goodness, purity,
beyond his animality.
Most seek beauty in sensuous forms,
others in Nature's pageantry,
and fewer still in love of God,
and one or two in quest of Soul.
Transcendent beauty is sublime,
serene and aspirational;
worldward beauty is enchanting,
The contemplation of beauty
inspires ideals of perfection
revealed only in brief moments,
being sent from Eternity.
The magic of beauty's touch
is likened to ambrosial fragrance
of jasmine, frankincense and myrrh,
wafting through the soul's pure places.
Behold man in his consciousness!
fount of all aesthetic values,
without whom nature lies inconscient
of all its sheer magnificence.
That mysterious perception
our minds transmute into beauty
in an intellectual pleasure
of a deep, intuitive kind.
Beauty is a soft emotion
induced by objects of the senses
impressing us with symmetry
of form and elegant design.
Depending on one's frame of mind,
beauty can be experienced
even in stark disharmony,
or in abstract simplicity.
In the consciousness of beauty
we are raised above ourselves:
our passions are then quieted,
we enjoy a good without desire.
The heaving bosom, the quiet sigh,
the enigmatic smile; or tears
of joy, of bliss, or of despair
characterize the aesthetic spell.
Unappreciative of beauty,
one is merely half alive;
not quite human in the finer sense
of refined sensitivity.
Whatever elevates our lives
above our gross carnality,
is aesthetically significant.
An aesthetic experience
is a softening process
of man's basic humanity
given to wayward impulses.
The aesthetic inclines us
to the sensual as it does
to the spiritual in us
depending upon the stimulus.
Desire aroused by sensuous
beauty of masculine or
feminine traits, sets an atmosphere
of enchantment between the sexes.
The more susceptible to beauty
of sensuously delicate forms,
the more impulsively inclined
to excessive sensuality.
The sensuous expressed in modes
of physical and adorned beauty,
of culture, grace, and intellect,
lead to the mating of the sexes.
delights the heavy hearts of men;
thrills the fluttering hearts of women.
For women, beauty in a man
is force of character and will;
For men beauty in a woman
is modest grace, play, and tenderness.
Beautiful faces and bodies
of men and women sensuous,
entrance the imagination
into a dreamy, desiring mood.
Sensuous beauty arouses
the desire to be beautiful oneself,
to the eye of the opposite sex.
What to a man is more lovely
than the alabaster texture
of a woman's soft and silken skin,
her body's shapely, flowing curves.
A woman's beauteous visage
inspires in men the image of
celestial purity, beaming rays
from a chaste and loving soul.
The ethereal loveliness
of a geisha's delicate face,
eyes innocently seraphic
an ideal of femininity.
But gaze upon a woman's beauty,
upon the contours of her form,
and streams of sensuous delight
inspire men's creative minds.
The rapture of a melting kiss
of one you love, not yet yours,
can vivify one's consciousness
into paradisiacal realms.
What is more sensually tingling
than the near anticipation
of a touch, a caress, the first kiss
of the adorable one you love!
That certain look, that certain smile,
of a woman falling in love with you
enrapture the soul
enhancing it beauteously.
Sensuous beauty elevates us
above gross sensuality;
we eat and drink, but with graciousness;
we mate, but with loving unity.
Cleanliness is next to godliness,
as is said, and experienced
by those given to beauty
of the body and the senses.
Creation in whatever form
transposes one beyond himself
into higher realities
of essential living truths.
A work of art can transport us
beyond our willing selves
into universal wisdom
of man in his humanity.
We honor artists deservedly
for the beauty they dearly impart
to our otherwise mundane lives,
for the beauty they inspire in us.
The sensuous harmony of words
set in poetic modulations
of elegant, vivid rhythms,
thrills the mind and stirs the feelings.
A sense of the beautiful,
of the sublime, can be derived
by solving intricate proofs:
Music! wonder of the abstract:
romantic, classic, primitive;
each form expressive of our need
to transcend gross reality.
Music! sublime of the spirit,
inspires reverence for life;
poeticizes human life
in various shades of mood divine.
Music! charming and delightful,
beautifies man's drab existence;
conduces to an atmosphere
of graciousness, good-will, romance.
Thank God for music, its uplift,
for its boon, to the otherwise barren lives
of those without an inner presence
of a transcendent regality.
Music sinks deep into the soul
either lifting it sublimely,
arousing it sensually,
or delighting it joyously.
Romantic music softens us
into a sighing mood for love,
supported by our fantasies
of pleasing self-aggrandizement.
Music: rhythmic, loudly primitive,
excites the blood sensually
to power of masculinity,
to coyness of femininity.
The pulsating beat of sounding drums,
the piercing twang of rhythmic guitars,
stir the blood to Dionysian
frenzy or soft aphrodisia.
The tragic muse of melody
which moves us to deep sighing tears,
uplifts us out of our little selves
thus broadening our humanity.
The sighing strains of violins
wring the sensitive heart in woe:
that wondrous man can be so vile,
and glorious life so cruel.
Heavenly inspired string quartets
sighing melody rapturously,
purify the human state,
inspiring it to seek the Divine.
The sadness in an andante
melts our soul in deepened sorrow
for a life we cannot understand,
for the suffering of poor mankind.
Whose but Wagner's sonorities
blaze with such resounding splendor,
with such swirling, sensuous vigor;
yet can attain such transfigured peace.
Tormented man, Tchaikovsky!
Your woeful chords sing tragically,
while your melodic tonalities
enchant with poignant register.
The delicate scores of Debussy,
his dancing play of tonal colors,
charm the mind in a kaleidoscope
of melting poetic textures.
Mighty titan! noble Beethoven!
the towering accents of your majestic rhythms
inspire in men lofty thoughts
and heroic stately virtues.
That I exist perplexes me,
sometimes with spiritual joy,
other times with tragic sadness;
but always with wonder and hope!
Life is comic as it is tragic
To the sensitive mind of man,
and thereby takes on meaning more
than merely living and then dying.
Just as man is faced with life
with all its harsh realities,
just so much in due proportion
must he be soothed in sweet illusion.
Illusion is beneficial
if it blesses one with hope, or
with beauty and creativity;
otherwise it becomes delusion.
The tragic sense of life in man
inspires art, philosophy, religion,
all of which ennoble his race.
It's sad that we must live then die
without apparent reason why
except a faith in some Beyond,
easily paled in this whirlwind life.
The materiality of this life,
its pedestrian tasks,
and repulsive human sordidness
make us sigh, cry out, for BEAUTY!
The tragic sadness of human life
in suffering, helplessness, and death,
inspire highest forms of art
expressive of deep sympathy.
Nostalgic for days gone by,
or precious loves that gave such joy,
for times of camaraderie,
for beauty that will be no more.
Man's inhumanity to man
blackens hope with foul despair,
expunges love with smears of hate,
and sullies beauty with ugliness.
An 1880 photograph of a woman,
young and fair... now gone;
so strange ... so sad... that once she lived
in youth and beauty, then aged and died!
a gull wings through the sky;
beyond the mundane world.
Out at sea,
a sailboat alone
sails rides shimmering wavelets
made golden by the setting sun.
Horses lazily grazing in a wooded grassland,
while in the background looms a mountain of trees.
A blood-red sun slowly sinking
in a horizon of swirling
blazing amber, rose, and golden hues.
Branches and twigs of barren trees
sheathed with scintillating ice
in a starkly winter-clad forest.
gossamer-strewn puffy clouds
floating by in an azure sky
with a crescent moon faintly visible.
In the wilderness, a waterfall
gushing down in a foamy mist,
supplying a meandering stream
at the bottom of a steep and cragged bank.
A lazy, summer day by a stream
with a stone bridge passing over it
a boy sits barefoot, musing, while fishing;
his faithful dog beside him.
Appreciation of beauty
can join people together
in mutual affiliation
for the good of love, peace, and joy.
Sympathy with fellow-beings
in their need, distress, or joy,
swells the heart with loving-kindness
beyond the bounds of the willing self.
To love one's neighbor as oneself
requires a beauty of the soul
free from ego's impetuous will
driven to satisfy "me-first."
When we truly love one person,
we can truly love all people;
for love is of the heart and soul,
wherein all of us are truly one.
What a lovely, innocent feeling
it is to simply like a person
for no other reason in the world
than just to like him for himself.
What pleases us as beautiful
we deem as something fine and good,
as that which makes ourselves feel fine,
and imitative of that good.
The beauty of the human soul
is manifest in its moral sense;
is enriched and made more sensitive
by sensations of the beautiful.
The evils inherent in life
and in man inspire nobility
to overcome that which destroys:
with love, compassion, and virtue strong.
How to become beautiful of self?
by quiet strength of character;
by striving for the right and good,
with fellow-feeling all around.
A beautiful soul shines forth
without resentments, greed, or lust;
free from vanity's self-absorption,
in tranquil harmony with good.
Give me purity before all else!
Therein the beauty of the self
radiates encompassing love and
frees us from our ego-self.
An aesthetic experience
can be so painfully beautiful
in a sigh for pure perfection
unattainable in this life.
Beauty transforms us into
beautiful beings amidst the taint
of our barren lives,
for the moment etherealizing us.
The sun appears white as the moon,
Yet it blinds my unshielded eyes;
as does the purity of the soul
blind those engulfed by pleasure's drive.
To live in the beauty of the world
is fleeting and determinant;
to live in the beauty of the soul
is lasting and inexhaustible.
Better to feel inward beauty
Than just the beauty of the senses;
for then both soul and world unite
in symmetrical harmony.
The beautiful can inspire in us
a yearning for our purer selves:
for what is good, noble, pure;
for love of nature, man, and spirit.
Our minds envision the sun as pure,
as they do the stars set in night;
and in our souls we long for
such purity to beautify us.
Transcendent of the willful self
in realms of beauty consciousness,
ecstatic waves of inspiration
ennoble, purify, the soul.
Quiet, peaceful, gentle night
with book in hand and heart aglow;
mind transcendent of the body
blended into timelessness.
Breathe in deeply the nightly silence,
feel it tranquilize your soul,
away from the bustle of the world,
away from tensions and commitments.
Merge yourself into the deep of night,
see nothing, hear nothing only feel;
feel inward peace and quietude...
and nothing but pure experience.
Shhh... Be still...Do you hear it?
The stillness of eternity ...
The swirling music of the spheres
within the quiet of your mind?
Nothing exists but your presence:
your breathing, the glow of your senses;
stay that way as long as you can,
In blessed exhilaration.
Of existence do I stand in awe,
of its logical structured order;
but more in wonder am I still
that such order IS, and why it IS.
This mysterious universe!:
Incomprehensible to us,
however we may theorize,
however divine our vision.
Poetic insight into reality,
as nature, man, love, and God
are felt as one in unison.
in being and nothingness;
abstracting form from matter
in quest of eternal essences.
Behold the conscious mind of man!
Behold the spirit of his being!
Wonder of the universe!
Creator of the Unmanifest!
Man is the aesthetic animal
who looks up to the heavens awed,
asking of the universe
the soul-seeking How? Why? What? Whence?
Ethereal sense of beauty :
is but transmuted consciousness
of nature's sexual design.
Man's aesthetic pulse for beauty
is an inborn urge for transcendence
into higher realms of consciousness
of ideals of Truth, Love, and Good.
Supreme aesthetic experience:
to find beauty within oneself:
in virtue, in love, in quietude,
in the stillness of Eternity.
Freedom of inward peace and strength
beyond self and sensuality,
rendering everything divine
at the core of our being.
The sublimity, the purity,
the sweet joy and serenity,
in being free from the wild of life
is sheer beauty of the spirit.
The sudden, jerking soulful sob,
the dampened eyes of mystic joy,
the instant of pure understanding,
that Something lies beyond our senses.
Oh, these spurts of illumined bliss
felt for Something higher, more divine,
than aesthetic sublimity
than even virtue and human love.
Is our longing for beauty
a longing for divinity,
to reach the Fount of all that is,
to become ourselves at one with It?
0, my soul, live for Eternity!
outside of relativity;
rise above sensuality
in love of good and purity.
Spirituality is beauty :
beauty of thought, beauty of feeling,
beauty in the conduct of our lives,
beauty that is equanimity.
We do want inner peace and quiet,
want to glow in spiritual light,
want to bathe in beauty of soul
but cannot have such bliss for long.
To live in luminous consciousness
is an aesthetic experience:
man above carnality.
II: A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS
Rejoice! I, Koheleth, teach a new wisdom imparted from the old. Hear me you seekers, you aspirants, you despairers, you world-wearied ones, you tortured of soul, you psychically damaged victims. Heed me well. Vanity of vanities! All is vanity, and a chase after wind - as I taught in ages gone by.
But now the dawn breaks over the dark of these tense and anxious times to radiate with full splendor within the mind of man an inner vision, a living presence, of a truth organic to his being.
I renew my plaintive sigh for suffering, dispirited mankind; but now with resplendent beams of hope with which to dispel the shades of his groping self.
Yes! There is found a way for contemporary man out of his malaise, a way for him to love the earth, to love the rich flow of his blood, without being victimized by them; a way to a consciousness of finer realities through the lush forest of the coarse and the ugly and the grotesque.
Listen to my words, my son, my daughter; let them sink deep into you, leaving you renewed, refreshed, in the bath of self-freedom.
Not immortality do I teach; not heaven nor hell; not sin nor purity; not rebirth nor resurrection; -- no, not even God do I teach! Wisdom is what I teach - a wisdom that balances man's humanness with his transcendence - a human-transcendent wisdom; through which all things fall into place, into proper perspective. Having reached the fullness of one's humanity, all need of faith and hope and belief dissolves of itself.
Once again, for the sake of this new age, do I refrain that nothing is new under the sun; all is eternal occurrence. And so I speak not of new truths, of which there are none, but of the eternal truths of existence, viewed in a new and fuller dimension through which skeptical, trembling man might glean some understanding.
Of a higher and deeper reality do I teach so to bathe your troubled souls with soothing consolation; but not without the boldness of spirit to nobly accept life's inevitable occurrences.
Come, let your woe be turned to joy, your failings to victories, your fears to daring. I invite you to grow with me to maturity into your inward sanctuary of the Transcendence of all that is. Tranquil pleasures, inner peace, are what we seek; compassion more than passion; affection more than desire. I not only affirm life, but affirm more life, which is to be found in the illumined consciousness of a transcendent Reality inherent to phenomenal being.
Not indifference, not passivity, not withdrawal, not acquiescence, do I endorse; but rather robust, enobling, spirited life both inwardly and outwardly. I wish not so much to enlighten as to edify, and to warm the heart.
Let us then look into the secret breast of man and woman; let us see them as they really are both in their individual and collective nature, and not as they seem to be or should be. Let us enter the variegated corridors of human nature, and there we will unravel the mysteries of man's inmost feelings, needs, fears, desires, yearnings. Having once detected the tumor of his spiritual malaise, we can then excise it with the salve of holy understanding.
What is man but an ever-turning wheel of opposing factions; a kaleidoscope of shifting moods and impressions? No sooner is he satisfied than his restless mind is on the wind again. Change is rooted to his very nature:
now desiring, then satiated;
now of the spirit, then of the senses;
now loving, then hating;
now calm, then enraged;
now fervent in interest, then cool in indifference;
now devout, then profane;
one time in need of attention, another time only solitude will do;
one time optimistic, another time pessimistic;
malice rules his breast as does kindness;
no sooner is he tingling with pleasure than his soul is steeped in disgust;
now is he compassionate, then see him aflame with passion;
how self-assured he is today, how racked in doubt tomorrow;
inspired today, barren tomorrow;
now at peace with himself, then back to his wild dogs;
now serious, then given to folly;
now he admires, then he disrespects;
now pleasant, then disagreeable
and on and on.
What are we to make of this wonder of the universe, this 'paragon of animals,' this monster of cruelty? Is he ever to be content? Must he ever be excessively desiring, needing, fearing, doubting, resenting, lusting, fighting? Can he never be at peace with himself and with others? Why so easily offended, so easily slighted? Must his turn of mind ever be judgmental and faultfinding? Must he ever be judging, hurting, spiting, backbiting? Why must he always be right? Why always on the edge of anger, despair, depression? Why is he never content for long, and why as quick to irritability as he is to revenge? How deep must we probe before striking his precious vein of goodness.
Is it desirable that man be solely good, or must he also be tinged with a touch of evil?
But, I ask, is man essentially good or is he essentially evil? Or is he essentially both?-or essentially neither? Or is he essentially nothing but what he makes of himself? This we must ponder.
These are the searching questions I pondered over man for a good many years, and have not found my enquiries in vain. Much understanding have I gleaned of man in his manifold ways and guises and secret yearnings; and in this understanding shines the wisdom of the ages, the eternal wisdom, as a warming, enlightening potion to be administered to the needs of our times, to the skeptical man, to the material man, to the doubting man, to the perplexed man, who yet continues to yearn for higher, more, consciousness, than that of his ephemeral self-consciousness.
Freedom I have to offer; but freedom with understanding and peace, with compassion and affection, with strength and nobleness. The freedom of manliness, far beyond the mere male, the masculine, the freedom of womanliness, far beyond the mere female, the feminine, is the freedom I give.
Come, let your life begin to take on meaning-and your death as well! Come, gain understanding of yourself-your true self, and of others; and you will be better able to live with yourself and with others.
Fragmented man we will now survey in the vanity of his existence and self-strivings, and come to see what little profit man has from all his labor under the sun, and the truth that all is vanity and a chase after wind-except that man know himself in the true nature of his being!
Man is to rise above the vanity of his existence so that he may harness himself to the wisdom of his life: to the ineffable source of, or reason for, his sense of truth, beauty, goodness, and love. Is such a union possible? Let us embark upon our odyssey beginning first with man immersed in and for his self-striving world, and next with man in his gradual ascent of the mount of his highest vision; and then will our answer begin to unfold.
Among men and women have I lived these many years, and have witnessed their various ways and byways, their surfaces and depths, their desires and needs, their passions and impulses, and have concluded about man on earth that all is self and a craving for stimulation; from whence issue all the good and the evil in the lives of men and women. Desire and passion are their boon and bane, their pleasure and pain, their joy and suffering, their gain and loss.
Pleasure, profit, power, prestige, are what man seek, and all else comes secondary-yes, including even the erotic, and friendship; these he needs emotionally as his body needs nourishment; but just as the body requires more than just food for the maintenance of its strength and health, so does the soul, the psyche, of man require more than the erotic, and friendship for the gratification of its strivings and cravings.
That man collectively is not an admirable biped is a tale long told and wearisome to hear; that he has moments of glory and grandeur, of self-sacrifice and heroism, of beauty and purity, need not be reiterated further by me; that he is a victim is also a tiresome theme that has long run its course, and need not be belabored further by my pen. But that man is a creature of his needs and shifting moods, of his human and individual nature, of his transcendence beyond his "I", this is the theme in need of elaboration by which to view him in proper perspective: the perspective that from the all-too-human side of his nature, he is ever bound to his creature self; but that from his more-than-human side, he is ever free in the bracing atmosphere of his transcendent self. This is the theme through which I revolve my argument that man is to find himself as more, much more, than his all-too-human self; not that he should disintegrate his all-too-human self, but that he should strengthen it, refine it, be less vulnerable to it, less victimized by it; in sum, that he should balance it with his transcendence.
Of a particular type of person do I lend my voice, who in his perplexity, his doubt, his skepticism, his fear and trembling, his anguish, is nevertheless in search of meaning, of integrity, peace and self-freedom.
For such an individual, reason must be harmonized with feeling, facts with the rationale of such facts, concepts with intuition, freedom with responsibility, gentleness with strength of will, matter with mind. Freedom for him must not be a flight to otherworldliness; it must be a balance between life and existence, between reality and ideality, between his humanness and his transcendence.
Man in search of himself must first understand man as man in his humanity, in his humanness right down to his core; and best this understanding comes by understanding oneself -"Know thyself," advised the wise Socrates.
Yet to know oneself is to cross stormy seas, to track through barren wastelands, to scale forbidding peaks, to descend to subterranean caves, to face fire-belching dragons of one's frightful self. Are you up to it? Can you brave the journey to its exalted end? Are you a warrior of the soul. If you are, then join me in my own trek through the lush jungle of my soul through which I observed and examined myself: my not too admirable self, my not too self-sufficient self. Having come to myself in all its sundry aspects, better have I been able to live with myself, better am I able to live with others, better am I able to enjoy life as it is.
Come, my friends, dare to know! You will not die, you will not collapse in "fear and trembling," you will not come to hate, nor lacerate yourself with guilt and shame. After all, you are human, as we all are with all nature's elements residing in us Remember the ancient Roman's truism: I am human; nothing human is foreign to me."
So, my good friends, rise above yourselves so to gain more understanding, more love, more virtue, more strength, more life. Follow my experiences, my observations of man in his vanity, in his wants and needs, in his pleasures and pains, in his vulnerabilities, and possibilities, from whence will emerge the new man, the new woman.
I, Koheleth, applied my mind to search and investigate all things man is capable of under the radiant sun; and behold, found that man in his humanness is lover of self and of stimulation preferably; and that only periodically is he lover of transcendent intangibles which alone give full meaning to his existence, which alone raise his spirit in wonder and bliss.
A leader of men and events, yet is he himself governed by his impulses of desire and passion and possessions.
A lover of beauty yet is he drawn into the whirlpool of sordid pleasures.
Humble is he at times, yet proud in his humility.
Strong in intent, but weak is he of will.
Freedom is what he longs for, but bondage is what he craves, and from which he dreads to be released
- the very release of which he aspires!
Paradoxical is this striving, craving, creature, man, grunting under the living sun!
I saw men and women desperate for success; and I asked myself, why?
I saw men desperate to love and be loved; and I asked myself, why?
I saw men and women of a wise stamp turn into fools just to be accepted; and I wondered exceedingly.
I saw all the wrongs man has perpetrated against his fellow man just so he be right, just so he does not lose face, just so he wields a measure of power; and I asked myself, why?
From the wealthy and the powerful, I learned that their need for recognition motivated their interest in wealth and power; and I asked myself, why?
I have known men and women to prematurely age and decline for no other reason than inactivity and no longer being needed; and I wondered exceedingly.
Among the various peoples I have learned that the predominating motive for, and in, war is individual ambition; and this has taught me much about man in his strivings under the sun.
I have witnessed good men turn bad for the sole purpose of approval and acceptance of his fellow men; and I sympathized deeply for his inner suffering.
I myself have done many foolish and reprehensible things in my vain life to gratify my sensuality and appetites, to assuage my fears and needs, to secure myself-esteem, to gain respect and recognition; and I marveled at my vulnerabilities despite my seeming strengths and assurances.
For many long years my appetites, desires, passions, and self-love ruled me mercilessly; and I loved my sensual-self; but too frequently regretted their after-effects. And I suffered in my sensuality and in my self-love, but would not let them go lest I lose my masculinity, my manhood - so I thought in my foolish, vain days of youth. The religion of my fathers instilled guilt and sin in me for the enjoyments of my sensual, sexual, loving self; and I desponded.
But, then came the day when I grew out of the religion of my fathers and no longer was conscience-stricken for enjoying the pleasures of my sensual, sexual, loved self; no longer feared the judgment of an all-seeing God "up there." I came to accept my ego-sensuality, its boon and bane, without guilt or shame riveting my mind.
Yes, no longer did I suffer religiously for my sensual indulgences, for my self-loving. But now I had myself to answer for them. I discovered to my dismay that my ego-sensuality distanced me from my transcendent leanings; and in consequence of my indulgences, I felt disoriented, less a man. It was now my humanness, not religion, that shamed me. I suffered and sighed for my transcendence.
I then took upon myself an inner search for the reasons why my sensual and loved self caused me more sorrow than delight. And so deeper I burrowed into myself, and into the hearts and souls of men and women, and lo! I discovered the scourge of man in his groping here under the radiant sun--: fear!: fear of physical pain without titillating pleasures; fear of mental pain without the anchor of his ego-sensual strivings.
Now armed with a fuller understanding of man's condition under the heated sun, I betook myself to further investigation of his grunting and sweating under his tripartite scourge of desires and passions and fears; and this is what I found.
I found man above all in psychological need of being needed, and that in truth all other emotional needs were sublimated to this one over-riding need. Yes, even for many, his need to be loved! And to satisfy this need, I found man susceptible to many meanderings, many evils, many fears and insecurities, much folly, much suffering; even madness. I found men and women crazed, starved, for affection, drunk with power, sunk in perversions, dazed in fantasies, busy in greed, attached to possessions, susceptible to flattery, ruthless in ambition, crazed for praise, frantic in loneliness, faultfinding, plagued by what others think of us, quick to resentments and driven to suicide, induced to cruelty and impelled to rule and manipulate, steeped in pride, given to viciousness. I saw them attempt the improbable, I saw them dazzled by illusion and delusion, the impossible. I saw them crippled emotionally. I looked upon all the injustices committed by man, but the mortal fear of not being needed: his need for meaning; to be of importance; to be accepted, respected, admired, liked, loved - if not by one or few others, then by everyone!
Countless other complexities of behavior have I witnessed men on earth subjected to, or subject others to, all a reflection of his need to be needed; and I wondered exceedingly that he should be termed primarily a sexual being! I have known men and women to take their lives even in early youth, for no other reason than that they felt no longer needed: no longer of worth or meaning, either to themselves or to others or because of personal honor. I have known of crimes and outrages committed for no other reason than to be noticed, recognized, accepted, admired; to belong to one's peers. I have seen men and women reject or repel love for personal honor, for power, for acceptance by their fellows. I have witnessed countless lives ruined for no other reason than parental rejection, or parental dependence. I have seen the pursuit of power and possessions, and wealth, and honor, and fame, destroy marriages and families and friendships. I have known men and women to live against their conscience and better judgment merely for the plaudits of the crowd. I came to understand the intricacies of sexual behavior, and found them to be more a result of psychology than physiology: more a result of emotional needs than physical needs. I witnessed men and women using rather than gratifying each other for their own personal ends and fantasies and ego-strivings. I saw men and women aroused to mating more for enhancement of their self-image than of their sexual needs.
Yes, I was not blind to the fact that Nature's secret chamber of chambers was that humankind propagate itself, and that all else, human and animal, issued from that one impulse. As She designed the male peacock with its array of feathers to captivate the female for propagation, so she designed mankind's ego-sensuality array for that same purpose. Yet I learned that man was more than his ego array, more than his sensual-sensuous-sexual array; that his self superseded his ego-sensuality, that it encompassed psychological and transcendent needs that defined his humanity, his living existence. Man must work and relax, man must create and destroy, man must thrill and despond man must know and understand, please and be pleased, man must need and want, must feel pleasure and pain, must love and hate - and so must contend and harmonize the opposites rife in life.
No, man is more, so much more than his sexual-erotic nature, however it may dominate his life - and dominate his life it does for the majority of our race. And, so from that vantage point, I concluded that man's sexual needs are more as a means than as an end: a means toward self-importance, toward the security of being loved, of belonging or possessing another, of being needed.
With this new understanding of man's need to be needed, I marveled exceedingly that man has of late been classed as primarily a sexual being!
But I probed further into this new finding that man was essentially in need of being needed lest I overlook the all-pervading power of sexual love, and lo, I found that sexual love is but one important aspect of man's existence on this earth, not the important aspect! And further I discovered that this aspect is primarily a youthful phenomenon in which to propagate our human race which in midway of our life is transformed into a phenomenon in support of our emotional well-being: as relief from tensions, as supportive of our self-image, as a means of putting meaning into our lives-as supportive of our need to be needed.
And, behold, I even discovered that our need to be loved is a reflection of our need to be needed. For I knew that if I were to be loved by another, I was needed; and if I were needed, I was important; and being important, my life had meaning; and that my life had meaning meant I was secure from the ravages of loneliness and aloneness which can lead us invariably to desperate acts, to disoriented states of mind. Being loved by another, I was cared for, belonged to someone, had someone of my own-was in an emotional affectionate bond of unity with another human being. I was not alone, and so not estranged from my self. I was a well-balanced, integrated individual who meant something to someone, and so was needed, and so was secure, and so was contented. I loved her as complementary to myself, and so was bound as one with her; she fulfilled my need to be needed. But I found that so long as my love resulted from my self-need, my love was not truly love, but need. Love, I told myself, must be more than a self-directed need; but at the time I knew not what love could otherwise be.
I learned that as human love, in its transcendent aspect, involved compassion and affection, and that many unfortunates cannot love in this way or are not loved in this way; their psyches resort to a psychological turn of mind in needing to be needed than to be loved; it was like, "if I can't, nor am inclined to be loved, then I will be needed.
This also I learned of the love-need among men and women toiling under the heavens: that what they claimed to love was what they really needed for their personal security. I have heard men claim love of God, and to love for Him, when what they meant was that they needed God for their inner security. I have known men who claim to love mankind, and who dedicate themselves to good works, when what they meant was that they needed to love mankind for their inner security. I have heard men expound their love of knowledge and beauty and creativity, and I knew in my heart that they needed to love these for their inner security.
And I knew that this inner security imparted to them inner power of pride and self-possession. I knew that self-possession to be a necessity to vulnerable man under the heavens, and so to be secured whatever the price, whatever the deed-whatever was to be loved! All these aspects of man I witnessed and knew myself to be as susceptible in my own way as the next man.
No, I did not see that the evil men do is necessarily evil inherent in man as a whole! Yes, there are those given to evil most naturally as I had encountered more than enough in my worried, turbulent life; but more often than not, I saw good men become evil. I saw need; I saw fear; I saw appetite, desire and passion! I saw his physical and emotional needs ruling him. I saw his physical and emotional fears pursuing him. I saw him governed by his appetites, and desires and passions in his need of being needed. I saw self and the craving for sensation, and the fear of negation of either. I saw a pitiably, insecure soul in man, and I no longer wondered at or judged his vagaries and cruelties under the heavens. I saw him more as a victim than master of himself. I saw him driven by the gusts of his natural inclinations and his fears, I saw him scourged and maddened by jealousy; and I despaired exceedingly that there was little hope for man to become master of himself and of his destiny. I believed in man, and so believed in hope for him. But to my sorrow, I not only saw men and women driven and subjected by the insufferable natural conditions given to every man being of human nature-for I have seen and heard of many who have conquered these; but I saw also men and women subjected and driven by their own individual nature, unable or concerned to rise above their lower selves to the noble acceptance of life. I despaired what I thought in my mind that many are destined to be lost souls. Why, I asked myself, will one person take to moral or wise exhortation, and not another person though you brand it into his brain? To attempt an answer to this perplexing enigma, I took myself to deeper investigations into the human factor, and learned of the following truths.
Among the sons of men I lived for many years and was bewildered by the sundry diversities of attitude and behavior. I applied my mind diligently to seek a common pattern governing men's actions, but was unable to find one. But then I turned my sights in upon myself seeking a frame of reference determining my own behavior and attitude behind my appetites, desires, and passions, behind my fears and need to be needed. And what I found was an unchangeable character, my own individual nature which was the center of all that I was, and which has not changed during all my checkered life. In many ways have I altered my mode of life and thought, much have I learned and matured, but always accompanying these various alterations, was my identifying center that made me inclined to whatever modifications my character underwent.
Ever I remained, Koheleth, the unique individual man of a type of nature receptive, vulnerable, repelled, impressionable, unimpressionable to the various experiences to which my mind and character were exposed.
I viewed my life in it panorama of events and growth and maturity and understanding and character development, and discovered of myself a particular type of nature: one of sensibility, of a reflective cast of mind. Energetic, vital, and daring I was; yet always with a touch of modest reserve. These I discovered are as much a part of me as is my physical stature, and that I could no more change than my height. These and other states of mind are me, are the psychological counterparts of my physiology which make up the unique me, without which I would not be myself.
Though subject to my lusts, I preferred continence. Though subject to my desires and passions, and so impelled to lies, dishonesty, inconsideration, anger, stinginess, I was nevertheless inclined toward justice. Though subject to my selfish ends, I was nevertheless inclined to the welfare of others. Though passionate, I was inclined toward compassion. All these inclinations are as much features of my mind and character as my facial features. They are me and I am them.
As another man loved physical prowess, I loved mental prowess. Given the opportunity, my mind took easily, lovingly, to knowledge and understanding. As another man must climb a mountain, or sail the sea, so must I seek and love on the alpine peaks of intellect, wisdom, beauty, spirit. Amidst all my alterations of mind and character, never has my central nature been adverse or indifferent to the call of glorious wisdom.
Though much of a reprobate in my fiery youth, ever did my moral character - offshoot of my individual nature - suffer in conscience and yearn for nobleness. Always when I wronged myself or others. I suffered tenfold for my wretchedness. Never could I be offhand or casual to the inner demands of my moral character. This I know of myself since the dawn of my reason. I saw others free from guilt of conscience in their injustices, who even preened themselves for their injustices and lusts; and at one time I envied them their carefree ways - so I thought them in my foolish youth. I attempted to emulate them in their wrongs hoping to be free of all restrictions, but never was to succeed.
Much was I ridiculed and scoffed at, and pitied that I could not give way easily to the "way of all flesh." An idealistic soul in a materialistic milieu is one destined to suffer many humiliations. And so he attempts to conform, and suffers more; but his need to be accepted outweighs his resistance to assert his individuality, his idealistic yearnings. But I secretly knew of myself that as much as I conformed to foreign patterns of behavior, just so much I remained my innately true self. Given the least opportunity, I rebelled against artificial oppressions against my innate self; and though I suffered in loneliness and by rejection, I stayed true to myself even in spite of myself. I could act no other way. I was destined to act out my true and demanding self, though very much stifled by social conventions.
Fortune shone on me, for I found a loving friend and companion who perceived my starving self submerged by untoward conventions and attitudes foreign to it. And behold! With her faith and guidance brought me to my true self, free from all my other superficial, social selves.
And so with love and guidance, knowledge and understanding, moral development, I came to know my true, inner self free from its artificial bindings - my innate, unchangeable self which, though for many years stifled, still governed me unknowingly; governed me in that I was always, primarily of a soft and gentle disposition, and this, no extent of social conditioning or threat could have changed, however it may have thwarted or modified this disposition.
Being predominantly of a soft, gentle, quiet, retiring nature, how could I radically change to an opposite, hard, coarse, loud, outgoing nature except by some overpowering force? Even if such a force did alter my basic disposition, still it could only be an artificial, temporary change without intrinsically changing me; for me to intrinsically change, my nervous system would have to be reordered.
So, I am who I am, and who I have always been, though in a less developed stage of development. For though my basic disposition remains ever the same, it still is subject to modifications of mental and character developments, or even retrogressions.
Having learned of my innate, unchanging moral character, and that I was predominantly of a soft nature, I betook myself to compare and contrast my nature with those of others, and found myself confronted with a prodigious task; but have since arrived at some finding which have not only enlightened me in the under- standing of intricate human nature, but in this understanding, have bettered my relationship with those of whom I applied this enlightened understanding; which has proved to me the validity of my findings.
Of my observations of groping mankind under the ever-turning wheel of night and day, I saw men and women of innumerable types, some of noble souls, and others craven souls; some of spirited temperament; some of delicate sensitivity and others of raw crudeness; some gross but gentle, others refined but coarse; some moral-minded, and others far removed from a moral sense. I knew of unscrupulous opportunists, and of uncompromising idealists; I knew of men and women with cruel and dominant streaks in their nature, and men and women of benevolent and accommodating natures. I have known those of a warm and engaging personality, and those whose personalities were cold and distant. Some have impressed me as preeminently selfish, and others as preeminently selfless. I have encountered those concerned only for ambition, and those only for aspiration; those concerned only with that is, and what ought to be for them, and those concerned with primarily what ought to be for the good of all, and those who live only for pleasure wherever they can get it.
After much cataloging of the motley characteristics of intricate man, I discovered, to the delight of my understanding, a fundamental pattern of two opposing traits in the nature of man; that of a soft nature, and that of a hard nature! What under the predominantly soft nature, one set of characteristics predominated; and under the predominantly hard nature, another opposing set of characteristics predominated. This I learned: that no one person is wholly soft nor wholly hard, but predominantly one or the other. This also I learned: that one of a soft nature was of a more impressionable, pliable, receptive cast, as is soft wax; whereas just the opposite applied to the hard-natured individual, as is hardened wax.
With this new understanding, my eyes and mind went searching for comparisons and contrasts in these dual natures of men and women, and made the following observations: that a type of person was impenetrable to moral exhortation, and he, I termed predominantly hard-natured being unimpressionable to the principles of justice and the feelings of compassion and affection.
That a type of person was predominantly self-directed and so inclined toward the traits of arrogance, aggression, avarice, antagonism, ruthlessness, shamelessness, cold-heartedness, expeditiousness, injustice, meanness, superciliousness, worldly, inflexibility, amorality.
That a type of person though self-directed too, yet nonetheless strongly other-directed, and so naturally inclined toward the traits of benevolence, kindness, compassion, empathy, sympathy, affection, justice, even-temper, consideration, moral-minded.
And from these contrasting natures, I learned that an extreme of hardness or softness leads to weakness and vulnerability; that the over-soft individual is as susceptible to inhumanness as is the overly hard individual; that for a well-balanced nature, one needs a proper balance of both hardness and softness, but that always one or the other predominated in a man or woman.
Having come to recognize the innate and unchanging nature in men and women, and that one's nature was predominantly hard or soft, I searched into myself and discovered the basis of my own nature, which without question was predominantly soft. All the traits I ascribed to the soft natured soul I found in me more or less. I found also that the softness of my nature was fairly tempered by the hardness of my male elements. I learned of myself that I was neither too good nor too bad; self-engrossed but not oblivious to the feelings or concerns of others; passionate, but not without compassion nor affection; sensual, but not disinclined toward virtue; ambitious but not ruthlessly.
I recognized the dualities in me, the dualities of my soft and hard counterparts; but always, even in my worst moments, I recognized the better, more refined, part of my soft nature, that part which continued to strive for a higher more noble existence. I knew my softness was not weakness, but was malleable as gold under fire; that it was this malleability that made it possible for my soul to be strong in its weakness, in its vulnerability, in its impressionability, in its susceptibilities. I would be hard against my weakness, and it was my softness that made this hardness possible.
And with this new understanding of human nature, of its innateness and unchangeableness,
of its soft and hard counterparts, I realized what it was that would nor could ever change in me, that it was my moral character which sprung from my basic soft nature resultant of my unique temperament and constitution founded on the physiology of my nerve cells and chemistry. I found, after deep reflection, that though my moral character changes exteriorally in my actions and attitudes, it does not change interiorally. For its center is this peculiar extent of my receptivity to the unity of human nature, and this receptivity determines the extent of my sense of justice, sympathetic sensibility and selflessness, which I can sum up in the one beautiful word love.
Understanding myself thus, I now looked about at others expecting to see the same order whether of softness or of hardness. I thus found myself faced with prodigious difficulties, for it was not simple matter to determine whether one person was basically hard or basically soft; since society had the insidious tendency to harden and submerge the soft-hearted. I found that unless one had immense inner resources, and, or, fortunate upbringing, to show one's softness was to make one too vulnerable to the will of others; and so one hardened himself to his finer sensibilities, and sensitivities.
I learned that many hid behind false masks so to protect themselves from the predators, the ridiculers, the militants; and that in most cases, it was invariably impossible to reach into the secret well of another's deepest and truest self; that to possibly learn of the true self of another, one had to know that person intimately; which the opportunity for such intimacy and trust is incredibly slim.
But I came to learn the signs of one or the other nature: that a predominantly soft natured person invariably showed signs of a moral, sympathetic, gentle sensibility; and that the predominantly hard-natured person the opposite signs if one could see through him beneath his frequently deceptive façade of a glowing personality.
This I learned after much painstaking and frequently mistaken observations: that beneath the social influences and personal modifications and surfaces lies the central, unchanging core of one's nature, predominantly hard or soft; and thus I concluded that men and women in their time under the heavens do not change, that what they fundamentally are at birth of disposition, so they remain till their dying day.
I learned this truth, and from thenceforth came to better understand the intricacies of men and women striving to live on the face of this earth. And with this understanding, my illusions and delusions, my hopes and expectations, for man in his gropings disappeared one after another. I learned to accept men and women as they were, no longer as I thought they should be, according to my ideals of nobleness. But I saddened that many men and women were ruined by their environment, by others by their own selves; that they would never come to know themselves for better or for worse, because of their own limitations and those of their surroundings. I saddened that men and women were destined to never rising above themselves despite all their efforts; that they would always be governed by their all-too-human needs, fears, desires, passions, impulses, lusts, vulnerabilities. I saddened for those who were primarily soft-natured, though forced into hardened actions and attitudes foreign to themselves. I saddened that the morally and spiritually inclined were distorted into immoral and materialistic channels beyond their control. I also saddened that the hard-natured ones exploited and corrupted the overly soft individuals; I angered at their ruthlessness, their cruelties; the magnetic hold they had the more receptive, susceptible, sensitive soft ones.
But in my sadness and anger, I recognized the truth of human nature in its softness and its hardness, and came to accept the natural order of this duality in human nature, and saw that by certain compulsions, inner and outer, the soft-natured could be hardened into the exigencies of survival and self-respect; and that the hard-natured could be softened into the aristocracy of refinement and culture.
I learned too that the soft-natured are not all good, as the hard-natured all are not all unfeeling and selfish; that the soft-natured can be induced into injustices by inner and outer necessity, just as the hard-natured can be induced to just and considerate acts.
I learned too that the hard-natured are as indispensable to human relationships and culture as is the soft-natured; that the one complements the other; that indeed there is "a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace; a time to gather stones and a time to scatter them; a time to embrace and a time to be far from embraces
" And I learned also that man in his restlessness for diversity cannot be satisfied with love alone, or with peace alone, or with compatibility alone, or with goodness alone, or with anything alone. Life is diversified, and so consequently is man in his varied degrees of softness and varied degrees of hardness. No one is totally soft or totally hard; totally good or totally bad; totally loving or totally hating; totally sympathetic or totally unfeeling; totally dispassionate or totally passionate; totally considerate or totally inconsiderate.
What makes the difference from one man to the next is whether he is satisfied in his varied dualities; or whether he seeks to go beyond them; toward a more comprehensive love or a more comprehensive hate; more goodness or more badness; toward more sympathy or more cold-heartedness; more dispassion or more passion; more consideration or more inconsideration; more spiritualness or more worldliness. Moving toward the exclusiveness of the negatives alienates one from the oneness, unity of human affiliation and life; moving toward exclusiveness of the positives unionizes one toward unity of humanity and life. That direction which brings with it the higher, refined experiences of joy, peace, inner freedom, and strength, is the path we, my sons and daughters, are to take in quest of higher consciousness, of transcendence. And as all sages from East to West have discoursed on the path of unity, of oneness, of love, of virtue, of the spirit, as the only path to higher consciousness, so this is the path we are to take, but in light of this new wisdom of man, as not only a creature of self and the craving for sensation, but as being essentially in need of being needed, and so driven by his appetites, desires, passions, and fears; as well as being subject not only to the limitations of his human nature but of his individual nature, predominantly hard or soft.
What emerges from this new understanding of men and women under the heavens, is an inevitability of human limitations but without the determinism beyond man's control; for it is possible to rise above this inevitability, to nobly accept it in a higher consciousness of the Higher Reality beyond phenomenal reality. This noble acceptance and higher consciousness frees man from his fate while at the same time being subject to it; the difference being that he is no longer a victim of his fate, but master of it.
Come, my sons and daughters, journey with me up to this Higher Reality under the enlightenment of this new wisdom, this new understanding of man as an inevitability, but master of it. Come to understand yourself, and so come to yourself, through the observations and experiences of me, Koheleth, a man who has come to peace within his troubled soul, a man who has found a new-born freedom from the embroilments of this panting world, a man who has found the essence of Being within himself, in and out of the world, a man who has found love in his breast, but a love tempered with a restraint of understanding the inevitability of man in the world.
Let us begin our higher and ultimate journey.
The Moral Quest
In my newly gained wisdom of the human breast, I saw man in his affairs under the revolving heavens in an entirely different focus. I now saw him from two aspects, and so could no longer say that all men and women were this, or all men and women were that. Here was one man or woman predominantly soft-natured, and there was one who was predominantly hard-natured; and on the basis one's basic nature, one person more given to justice, and another more given toward injustice. In which case I could no longer say of man collectively that he was either basically bad or basically good; for I now understood that we all had both tendencies in us, though one was less or more predominant depending upon the person's intrinsic nature.
I saw those who were primarily just act unjustly of character, but because of influences of fear of rejection, of not being loved or needed, of social pressures of one kind or another, of not being accepted. I saw those who were primarily unjust act justly, not because of an intrinsic change of character, but because of such influences as expediency, age, to make favorable impressions, and fears of one sort or another.
I gained insight also into man's nature, that though he was circumscribed, determined by the dictates of his intrinsic nature, he nonetheless had the freedom to expand the potential of his particular moral character whether for good or for ill, toward more injustice and indifference, according to particular tendencies. I saw that man was free in this regard, but not free to be other than his nature, both human and individual, dictates. Yes, he is free to become more just, more loving, more considerate, more generous, more courageous, calmer, inwardly stronger; just as he is free to develop more oppositely of these traits - but only if his moral character tends toward either set of traits. Yes, man was free, but within the bounds of his human and individual nature.
I soon came to understand that it was the fool who ever rested content with himself, who believed himself to be as morally good or bad as he was capable. Man is an imperfect being, pulled this way and that by the impulses of his self and craving for sensation through which, on both counts, give rise to his manifold appetites, desires, passions, lusts and fears. Ever given to these allurements, he can never attain to the ideal image of himself. But in inverse proportion to the lessening of his sensual and needing self, just so does his moral and spiritual self increase. So I learned as I took perspective of myself over the long years of self-development from the lure of my sensual and needing self to the higher reaches of my moral and spiritual self; or I might say from my lower to my higher self.
I did rail at my lower self innumerable times for ever keeping me from my higher ideals; but never did I despise my lower self, for I knew it to be as much part of my human nature as is the potential of my higher self - though I have since learned that my lower self is more allied to my animal nature than to my human nature.
I enjoyed my appetites, my desires, my passions, but to my consternation, found myself given more to excess than to moderation - such was the keenness of sensual pleasure. I often suffered for my sensual indulgences, either in regret, remorse, shame, a weakening of purpose and command of myself, many physical discomforts, frustrations innumerable, a self-directedness which frequently caused friction and resentments with others, a loss of inner control and self-respect, much repentance and wretchedness.
I began to resist my sensual pleasures, but found myself no match for their ever enticing lure. I fasted, abstained, made resolves and vows, but to only temporary avail. I gradually began to fast permanently from one or two appetites which to this day I have abstained. But mostly I continued in my cravings for sensation, never really gaining consistent control or moderation over them.
I loved the pleasures of my body, but loved the pleasures of my soul more, though for many years these pleasures were too tranquil, too short-lived to withstand the intensity of the delight of my senses.
I wanted and strove for virtue to upgrade my stature as a man, but was ever faced with the force of my animal nature. Yes, I became more truthful, more honest, more sincere, more generous, more considerate, more calm; but still was prone and susceptible to carnal pleasures, and first and foremost to my own interests. My integrity never became complete, since my inordinate affections and desires and passions I knew would take precedence were there a conflict with the principles of my integrity. Yes, I would lie rather than having to admit to an inordinate or improper indulgence.
I knew I would gain little moral courage so long as I was under the sway of my sense pleasures; and I despaired at this truth. To know that I had little control over these sense-pleasures depressed my conscience; but I always picked myself up after each fall, each disappointment, each wrong omission or commission, and tried again, and again, and again. I tried every possible and means to overcome, to gain a modicum of control, and slowly, gradually, I gained a small footing; but I always slipped back. Yet I never gave up the good fight. I was intent on wining it; though victory seemed eons away.
The more I understood virtue, the more I realized how very tenuous my little virtue was. Though I had attained some of the virtues, I nevertheless knew in my true evaluation that I wasn't truly virtuous nor morally fine. I knew I would fail myself in matters of moral physical courage so long as I was under sway of my sense pleasures. When under such sway, I somehow became less a man, lost some of my self-respect, would not and could not be morally strong when under such influence. I feared the possibility of cowardice, and this truth despaired me.
True, I had moral integrity, but I knew in my heart that this integrity rested on sand, was surrounded by the weeds of my sensuality. I needed to strengthen this foundation so that this integrity would flourish fully against whatever adversary, whatever suffering. I felt compelled to be strong, durable, enduring, noble - and discovered that through self-control I would attain these traits.
So, I searched into the meaning of self-control, and behold I found it to be not one of the virtues, but the way to all of them! I discovered that to be generous my inclination toward possessiveness and stinginess had to be controlled; that to be calm, I had to control my impulse to anger; that to be courageous, my mortal fear had to be controlled; that to be truthful or honest, I had to have my desires and fears under control; that consideration required my self-directedness to be controlled.
Besides control of my sense pleasures being under the domain of self-control, I came to perceive that self-control was not the least important to keep one from despondency, despair, futility; that one must keep his moods under control no less than his appetites.
I learned that at the heart of self-control lie the control of my thoughts and eyes; that with these under control, my sensitive appetites would be under control.
Self-control taught me not to give in so easily to my weaknesses, my susceptibilities, my inclination, I understood that self-control required self-denial and a moderation that at the time I was not up to. I experienced some of the inner strength and tranquility that self-control begot; but this new understanding and practice could only be a temporary stepping stone for me at that stage of my life, because I knew then that only when I arrived at the stage of preferring this inner tranquility, and the strength of denying myself sensuous pleasure over the intense pleasure of "giving in" to them, would self-control be truly effective for me. I was not ready for its demands in the realm of the senses; but it did advance me to the stage of controlling my moods of depression, ennui, hopelessness, restless. This much did self-control gain for me at that stage of my life.
Along with my growing understanding of the efficiency of self-control, came thoughts of the acceptance of life as it is, began to course through my mind. I came to see the relationship between the two and knew that I had to accept the struggle, the pain, to control the urges and moods of my sensual self. Yes, I no longer succumbed so easily to my dark moods, my carnality, and sensuality; I had learned to recognize them for what they were, and accepted them as inevitability part of my nature.
Now I did not passively accept my adverse moods and appetites; did not resign myself to them; but came to accept them nobly, with a sense of heroic dignity, and thereby continued my struggle to rise above them if possible, or at last to bear their onslaught. This took a courage I was not always up to; but whenever I did contest with a present mood or passion or impulse and conquered it, then I experienced a strong sense of inner control and peace.
I found that my new consciousness of acceptance induced the desire to control myself, and to accept the inevitable for the sake of my dignity, my honor; because it was noble and beautiful to resist and endure. To master the mood became the dictum of my new consciousness of acceptance. Acceptance was not merely to face a situation, but to brave it as well.
With this new realization of acceptance, and its being the purpose behind my striving for self-control, not only in moral matter, but with my shifting, unaccountable moods, I began to apply its philosophy to the problem of existence, to human life and consciousness.
There is evil in the world, there is ugliness in the world; everywhere cruelties, injustices, suffering, mad folly, licentiousness, and all manners of sights and sounds and odors, which make one recoil in disgust, or fear or protest. So much in life grates our sensibilities grates our sensibilities that we tend to shun all that does not conform to our image of how life and human living should be. We prefer not to face the underside of life, and so we immerse ourselves into beautiful luxuries, beautiful manners, beautiful art and music and poetry. We have our sciences, and our philosophies, and our aesthetics to keep us ever attuned to the beautiful, to the graceful, to the good, to the clean, to the happy, to the sublime, to what we call the "beautiful life." What is ugly, sordid, dirty, impure, ill-mannered, rude, crude, we avoid as a taint to the beauty we want so much to put into our lives. What is not radiant with color, wit, sociability, affability, goodness, richness, is bleak with pain of spirit. We do not want to face what does not uplift the spirit. We want perfection, order, cleanliness, grace; and we suffer in spirit in the absence of these: when there is strife instead of affability; dirt instead of cleanliness, war instead of peace; disorder instead of order; melancholy instead of cheerfulness; hate instead of love; lust instead of affection; passion instead of compassion; impulse instead of reason. Being so immersed in surface beauty and surface goodness, and surface grace, and surface affability, we cannot easily adjust to, accept their opposites. When faced with overcast weather, we ourselves become overcast; when faced with ugliness our stomachs turn and render us helpless; when faced with our lusts and passions, and impulses, we suffer the consequences of our carnality; when faced with foul odors, filth, disarrangement, poverty, ill-manneredness, we shrink in helplessness. We have become overly-soft, overly civilized, overly cultured overly aesthetic, wrongly thinking our aestheticism is akin to the spirit. We want to reform the world so that everyone will live for beauty, goodness, grace; that everyone will live in peace, in harmony, in love, in spiritual and material well-being. Foolish thoughts! Since when has man, or when will man, ever subscribe to such perfections? Man is an imperfection; a being of varying natures, varying needs, varying inclinations, varying moods. He is human, he is animal; he is good, he is bad; he likes, he hates; he loves, he lusts; ever desiring, ever shifting in moods and affections; he hungers, and so he must kill to eat; he must survive as must his species, and so these life-purposes come before all else, thereby every keeping him primitive, primeval; his life must take on meaning, he must be inwardly secure, and so he takes whatever means, moral or immoral, to satisfy the demands of his every-demanding self. Sensations, enjoyments, stimulations, he ever must have, and so he seeks and craves them wherever they may be found, whatever the price, whatever the novelty. Boredom comes easily to man; satiation comes easily to man. Satiation leads to boredom, and so he must ever replenish his craving for sensations.
No, man is not much of an admirable being; his goodness is every offset by his impulses and appetites; his grace denied by the thrust of his urges which leave him giddy with expectation. Man is self-directed, vain, critical, often times malicious. Whence then all the talk of man and perfection? Life does not accommodate man's thirst for beauty and goodness, for life is as ugly and bad as it is beautiful and good. Old age is considered ugly, and do we not all age? Selfishness is not an admirable characteristic, and are we not all selfish? Lust is animal-like, and do we not all lust? Personal survival comes before the survival of others, and have not men always killed others in order to survive? As beautiful as we may be in body, face, and dress, are we not full of foul odors and natural functions and habits which remind us of our real origins. As human as we are at beautiful affairs and with acquaintances, are we as easily so with among whom we live with day in and day out, those closest to us?
No, we are not beautiful people living a beautiful life. Life is founded on opposites, and being part of the world, so are we replete with opposite traits.
All this understanding came to me in my new consciousness of acceptance, wherewith I began to look upon living and human life in a more penetrating perspective. I began to put away my foolish ideals and expectations for mankind, though I do admit reluctantly and sorrowfully at first. I did not like it that man in general was not redeemable, that he did not want to be redeemable, except in the very few cases. Regretfully, I had to admit that men and women in general lusted for life, and did not aspire to moral goodness, or to spiritual consciousness, except in those periods when they suffered from loneliness, or poverty, or failure; or in grief, or in matters of necessity or expediency or exigency. When man was successful, loved, appreciated, admired, these proved to him his worthiness as an excellent human being, and so why need he think of moral or spiritual development?
These truths saddened me to see man wrapped in ignorance and vanity and misery, and sensuality and power, and wanting nothing more in life so long as they were needed, so long as they felt themselves to be important in the eyes of others, so long as they had the means to satisfy their appetites and passions, so long as they were still attractive to the opposite sex.
But with my new understanding of acceptance, I was better able to accept man as he is, has always been, and always will be so long as his nature remains human as we know it. He must be loved and liked, he must survive, he must be loved and liked, he must survive, he must be accepted and respected and admired, he must avoid boredom and failure, he must avoid pain and suffering and sorrow, he must feel important, must put meaning in his life, he must have inner and material security, he must propagate his race. And with all these "musts," he also must satisfy these needs in his own way, no matter how bizarre or wrong, or perverted, they may seem to another person.
This is the way of the human world, so I came to understand and accept which henceforth ended my illusions and delusions of noble man striving under the heavens to live his little life in high morality, beauty, and spirituality before it ends forever in the shroud of nothingness. I came to accept these truths not as "brutal", but as truths of nature as she in her mysterious way arranged it. Nature, I learned, functioned more as the rule than the exception; and whatever was the rule than the exception; and whatever was the rule, I came to understand was natural however it may go contrary to my taste or attitude or nature. I came to accept people as they are, no longer as they should be. I saw man as governed first by the dictate of their own nature, and second by the dictates of their own nature. I now understood deeper than I ever did, the natural ways of human nature and individual nature, and did not expect anymore of man under the sun.
Most men and women I saw victims of their human and individual natures, and I no longer judged them; nor did I pity them, but rather came to feel for them kindly as all one family of man in need of many consolations and illusions to ease their way through this sweating laborious life.
Now I knew I was prepared to look upon my life with my wife and sons in the radiance of love, for it was my wife of the gazelles who taught me the deep ways of human love; and with human love in one hand, and my transcendent Love on the other hand, I balanced I balanced the two unto a new wisdom: a Love-wisdom of human-transcendence.
And now I take my leave of you, my friends, to find your way through the lush jungle of your humanness and the radiant pathway of your transcendence. May my fecund findings guide you through your journey to self-discovery and transcendent realization, to the transcendence of your humanness, and to the humanness of your transcendence.
Your human-transcendence is the dawn of your day I bequeath to you so that you may rejoice in both your humanness and your transcendence; that in your humanness, your pains may take their rightful place with your pleasures, that your wants and needs may balance you out, that your ego may sublimate itself to the totality of your self; and that your transcendence may lead you to the right of your acts, to the truth of your life, to the understanding of your humanity, to the grace of your integrity, and to the being of your existence - all ideals to be transformed into realities, as far as that is humanly possible, as far as that is individually possible for you.
Onwards then toward the wisdom of human-transcendence, toward a higher understand- ing.
III: SPONTANEOUS THOUGHTS ON WISDOM
1. Let Wisdom be my mistress, as I am male; my master; as I am female.
2. With Wisdom by my side, I soften my defenses, I drop my shield.
3. Wisdom is the passageway through which I meet myself as love.
4. It is a joyful wisdom we want; not a somber, severe, austere wisdom.
5. Wisdom is our transcendence in thought, feeling, and action.
6. Wisdom is the image of eternity.
7. Trying to capture the quick of Wisdom would be like trying to seize a shooting star.
8. Wisdom is as effervescent as a breeze wafting through our mind; yet more real than our breath.
9. After all the words used to try to capture the meaning of Wisdom, it nonetheless remains ever ineffably a conundrum.
10. Wisdom makes us wise in action (in practical matters) and deep in thought (in contemplative matters). How? By imparting to us truths of life and Truth in Love.
11. Our destiny lies in the folds of Wisdom of which we have only intimations.
12. Through Wisdom do we sense our essentiality.
13. Wisdom is nowhere somewhere in our conscious being.
14. Wisdom is God (Pure Being) actualized.
15. What Wisdom means is beyond our ken but "within" our being.
16. Wisdom is the medium through which eternal truths issue.
17. Think of Wisdom as the key to our eternal nature.
18. Think of Wisdom as the messenger of eternal truths.
19. Wisdom is sure to beautify herself in our minds so that we are drawn to her in sweet desire.
20. Wisdom sets forth its ideals in our minds so that we aspire to them however unattainably.
21. Wisdom abides in the eternity of Truth as One, and shares this truth with man in living concepts.
22. Wisdom is so inherent to eternal Truth that those who live only for life's truths have little share in her bounty - though they are offered to them.
23. As there is a method to madness, so there is a share of wisdom in ignorance -- though we may never grasp this truth.
24. Wisdom shares her secrets to those who, not only are receptive to them, but who love them. One such secret: that there are no problems, only solutions; another such secret: Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans; one more such secret: Love is all you need. You might recognize these secrets in Lennon's songs.
25. Wisdom is everywhere to herself, but nowhere to us; just as our mind is nowhere to be found (perceived) yet everywhere in thought.
26. Now Wisdom is here, then it's gone; now you're sure of it, then unsure; now in its bosom, then in the cold, now in possession of its treasures then barren of them.
27. When you act wisely, you act in love; since love holds everything together in its place and order -- even when it separates in strife; for is not everything bound in relationship one to the next, one to everything however far apart?
28. Through good (morally and deliberatively) judgment, the disciple of wisdom measures (i.e. judges, determines) the proper distance between persons in harmony or in strife.
29. The disciple of wisdom deciphers well good from evil, the soft-natured from the hard-natured, and acts accordingly; that is, measures correctly the distance between the two in persons through sound judgment regardless of the consequences.
30. Acting in wisdom -- with good deliberation, good judgment, with understanding of the full truth of the situation.
31. He acts in wisdom -- is at one with the Source, the Essence, of universal Truth, eternal Oneness: Love.
32. He acts through wisdom -- He lives in, for, and by, the inspiration of Wisdom.
33. Wisdom is your wisdom; you just have to find it in yourself, listen for it, be receptive to it.
34. Perhaps your errors, your wrongs, are as much a part of the wisdom of the whole scheme of things, as are your accuracies, your rights.
35. Be wise in your folly -- meaning: be the fool at times but know when you are, and when to desist.
36. Sensuous beauty ensnares us all, but Wisdom's beauty frees us in peace through Love.
37. Project Wisdom in your mind as your Friend -- your Jesus (or Buddha, or Krishna, if you will) -- your mysterious Presence that is every rapping at your inner door, however silently it may be, however you may ignore it.
38. Wisdom is your vital lifeline to your Eternal Oneness, your Unity.
39. Now and then wisdom does more than guide you through life -- it infuses you with its bliss.
40. You might think of wisdom as the "Son of God" who imparts the WORD to our minds from the Godhead.
41. Jesus as the WORD -- or just as well Buddha, or Krishna, or Ramakrishna. This WORD gives us as Wisdom through which we live wisely in love and die eternally in Bliss-Oneness.
42. Rest your mind in the calm and still of Wisdom's presence.
43. Wisdom is her name; beauty is her image; truth is her way, and love her essence.
44. Wisdom is the name we give to that which inspires us to our transcendence.
45. Wisdom is part human and all divine.
46. Wisdom is not something we attain -- how can we attain what we already have?; it is wisdom in thought and action that we attain.
47. Wisdom is Love's emissary; it is our divine spark that ignites true vision through intuition.
48. Through the channel of intuition our reason structures the world for us.
49. Wisdom attunes us to the chords and discords of life in love and strife.
50. A: Your so-called Wisdom as some kind of spiritual essence seems to me to be no more than a chimera, an illusion, if not a delusion.
B: Do you know that for certain?
A: Well, I don't suppose anything human is certain. I don't deny right out the spirituality (or pureness) of being; but my objection is your spiritualizing wisdom which has to do with rational thought dealing with contingent, practical, and necessary truths. Why are you turning it into some kind of deity?
B: Not a deity -- a divinity; there's a difference.
A: Which is?
B: The difference between conceptualizing God as pure Being and God as divinity. We conceive of God as Being; we intuit God as divinity. Our concept of God as Being is limited to our rational nature; that is, we're not able to verify it. And so, we can never know if this concept is based on reality. And so, our concept of God as Being can never really affect our lives emotionally, deeply, except on faith or illusion, as you call it. On the other hand, our intuition of God (Essence) as divine does affect us emotionally, because it somehow inspires us to act and think rightly in accord with the truths of life -- and the Truth of Being, as we conceive of it; however wrong we may be about this conception.
A: Then you admit that you might be under an illusion that God is pure Being.
B: Yes; I've said as much.
A: And that it is possible that there is no such thing as God as Pure Being?
A: In which case, there would be no so-called Wisdom emanating from some so-called Pure Being?
B: That follows simply enough.
A: Then that would leave wisdom meaning simply acting with good judgment about particular and universal truths about life and nature.
A: Then why, in any sense of the word, would you consider wisdom as
B: Because of the wonder of it all! -- of the mystery of all these truths in life and in nature. I remember reading on a plague somewhere "Wisdom begins with wonder." And when we wonder, we stand in awe of what we can- not understand; but which moves us inexplicably in sublime transports of ineffable joy. This mysterious faculty that sparks wonder in us and inspires us to explore and enquire and create artistically, scientifically, philosophically, psychologically, is what I consider as divine. And yes, we may very well be mistaken in our various interpretations of this divine element in us; but we are not mistaken that it makes its presence known to us. And when it further inspires us to act rightly in love, then I know all the more that it is divine by the harmony love tends to fuse people together in unity -- in an affectionate bond of compassion- ate unity, as I call it. And if it is an illusion, something our minds have concocted to preserve our species from extinction, and nothing more-then even that stark reality is divine so far as I'm concerned. And because it is what we term "wisdom" that synapses, so to speak, the living truths of reality, then It, in my estimation, is my divine counterpart; and I treasure It as my spark of divinity.
A: Well that fairly much puts my argument to rest.
B: That sounds ambiguous. To rest in what sense: you are convinced, or you are exasperated.
A: The former. Though I would like to know more about love in its relationship to wisdom. But
51. A conundrum of wisdom: For the sake of love people hate; for the sake of justice people commit injustices -- which is to say, for the sake of good, evil exists.
52. And when all else turns against you - because of you or because of others -- you have the solace, the comfort, the strength, to carry on with your beloved Wisdom who is with you regardless; since it is she and her cohort, God, who set all this life "business" up in the first place. So rather than be a mere pawn to this often sordid, absurd business of human life, join forces, hold hands, with the perpetrators of it all: God and its handwork, Wisdom. This is not so pretty a picture of Wisdom, as I have so far set it forth.
53. It's hard to hold on to an abstraction, such as, Wisdom, however dear it is to us, when the furies of life engulf us, make their onslaught upon us.
54. Let Wisdom accompany you wherever you go, whatever you do.
55. Wisdom can save you from yourself and from others. Keep the faith!
56. "I'll do it for Wisdom" -- No more vows, resolutions, and the like. I'll simply do, or not do it, for my love of wisdom. Now I've got it!
57. Wisdom, we might say, is the eye of knowledge.
58 Wisdom requires much of us; but it gives much, too -- much more than it requires in the end.
59. With Wisdom as our constant companion, we have a personal transcendent purpose to refine ourselves as never before: our beauteous Wisdom.
60. Wisdom is imbued with Love.
61 Wisdom is what gives meaning to Love
62 Wisdom is the human expression of Meaning.
63 Meaning is the "why" of Love.
64 To say that a person is wise is to mean that he or she lives the Meaning of Love.
65 Look at Meaning in this light: meaning as we use it in daily discourse -- the meaning of a word, the meaning our life, and so forth, is the emanation of the Meaning of everything. In which case, the meaning of a word - any word in any language -- is the Meaning of all words; the meaning of our life is the Meaning of life itself.
66 Intuition is the wisdom of our species; and the wisdom of our species is the Meaning of our species. - the Meaning we can never know as a species.
67 Wisdom speaks of Meaning; that is to say: wisdom is the word of Meaning.
68 When we act in, for, love, we act with wisdom; and when we act with wisdom, we are in touch with the Meaning of that wisdom, the Meaning of that act of love.
69 Our feelings (emotions, passions, etc.) ensue from love, for good or for ill, love of self or of otherwise; and we act according to those feelings. And those feelings have a wisdom of their own -- "method to our madness." And that wisdom belongs the collective meaning of our humanity.
70 Were we to trace the wisdom of our humanity to its source -- which we can never do in this life - we would arrive at its ultimate Meaning.
71 All peak experiences of love, which transcends oneself beyond one's self, are degrees of mystic experiences relative to the range of their intensity and purity.
IV: LOVE AS THE WISDOM OF HUMAN-TRANSCENDENCE
1. A human-transcendence is what we want: a life that is human in its transcendence.
2. We have our humanness, and we have our transcendence; and from these two, we arrive at a human-transcendence.
3. Yes, be transcendent, as transcendent as you can be; but hesitate before you seriously deny, judge, condemn, or hate your humanness -- or anyone else's.
4. Transcendence can take you from zero to infinity, from here to eternity, beyond good and evil.
5. A serene calm with transcendence; an agitated tension with humanness. Both profit us in their place, and in balance.
6. Just as you are human so are you transcendent: temporally human, eternally transcendent.
7. At each inspiration, at each effort, to control yourself, refine yourself, go beyond yourself; know that a transcendent element is working in you.
8. Some aspects of our humanness: our need to be needed, to be loved, to belong, to be respected, to be admired, to be secure, to be accepted, to be right, to be appreciated, to be intelligent -- and the whole host of psychological needs that anyone can fill in. Then there are our fears, our insecurities, our moods, our sensuality, our ego, our passions, our lusts, desires, greeds -- and on and on, endlessly it seems; all indicative of our humanness, our all-too-human self.
9. Some aspects of our transcendence: our sense of beauty; our tendency toward goodness, toward right, toward grace, toward being, toward contemplation, meditation; our impulse to create, to know, to understand, to observe, to reflect, to analyze; our intuitions and visions of universal truths; nirvanic states of pure bliss-light-power; all indicative of our transcendence beyond the categories of self and reason, space and time.
10. Let your sense of transcendence offset, soothe, the brunt of your humanness.
11. The balance of opposites is the key to freedom:to self-freedom; and human-transcendence is such a balance.
12. Transcendence saves.
13. Think transcendently, and you will feel transcendent, you will be transcendent. Through the way of human-transcendence we are neither all-too-human nor more-than-human; we are human in our transcendence and transcendent in our humanness.
14. Human-transcendence is a mature wisdom of life; for normally those who strive for higher ideals have to pass through a long gestation period before they come to realize that they cannot be totally transcendent, no more than can the realist be totally human.
15. The way of human-transcendence aims for a guiltless, fearless life.
16. Be wary that your humanness does not get the better of you -- nor your transcendence.
17. Try not to be too hard on yourself; give way to the human in you when need be -- or desire be -- at times; relax the tension of effort now and then, but be careful that it doesn't slacken. The human in us tends more toward inertia when it comes to effort .
18. Human-transcendence: simply the moderate balance between both the human and transcendent in us.
19. Living this human-transcendence, you do not lose your masculinity, or your femininity; rather, you refine it so that you become more manly than masculine, more womanly than feminine.
20. The transcendent-humanist delights in diversity, and joys in unity; for he sees diversity as the other side of unity.
21. The human fascinates; the transcendent awes.
22. The human-in-us limits us; the transcendent-in-us expands us.
23. If you must, continue to strive to be transcendent only beyond the all-too-human part of yourself; and finally, if you are human in the full sense of the word, you will come back to your human side, and not make severe, austere demands upon it so much. Having reached this stage of your development, you might then begin to harmonize the two sides of yourself.
24. Living transcendently human is the many-sided, the full, life amidst the play of opposites.
25. Before you readily fall into the trap of the excuse, "After all, I'm only human," remember that you are also transcendent; and that part of you makes its demands too. And judgment is on the side of your transcendent self; use it often, and wisely -- if that's not being redundant.
26. Human-transcendence is an ideal wisdom grounded in the realities of life.
27. The transcendent experience is that state of consciousness which goes beyond self-consciousness.
28. This wisdom of life gives not only the proper due to the Dionysian (sensual, dark) and Apollonian (reason, light) sides of our nature, but it is an endeavor to harmonize the two. It is the all-too-human and the more-than-human way of life; it represents the law of polarity, and acts as a checks and balances of the opposites in life. There is no perfection in this way, only a balance between perfection and imperfection: a balance between ideals and realities.
29. In this way of life there is little embarrassment or shame at being all-too-human, or regret or remorse for not being more-than-human.
30. Even those who are not very receptive to transcendence would do well to foster some aspects of their transcendence if only to relieve them from the relentless pull and frustration of their human side.
31. You have failed yourself transcendently? You are not coming up to your ideals? Fine. Don't despair; your human self wants its way, too, you know; you still have blood coursing through your veins, you know; you still drink, eat, and sleep, and eliminate, and copulate, you know; you still feel warmth and cold, fatigue and irritation, you know; if you examine yourself closely enough, you will see that your pride is still with you, you know. These are all human; so let us not disparage them, please...you know.
32. Nietzsche's overman -- a chimera? Not at all! It is a reality if one can come to live the human-transcendent life.
33. Relax both sides of you; be kind to each other.
34. In order to accept and love your humanness, you need your transcendence; you cannot pull yourself up by your own human bootstraps, as the saying goes. Your humanness is blinded to itself: it only knows itself, or more correctly, it only is itself. It is your transcendence that loves, that understands, that tries.
35. Human-transcendence is an ideal philosophy -- not a philosophy of ideals alone, but an ideal philosophy in the sense that it is an ideal way to live in accordance with one's humanness and transcendence --: that is the ideal to strive for.
36. How good, how free, it is to once again love your humanness! This truly is the joyful wisdom of which Nietzsche taught...Nietzsche! humanity's prophet of the new man, of the new way, of the new freedom. We are your heirs, dear man, who loved mankind so much that you laid down your sanity for it. You are the true Christ-like figure, the true Christian, not your wax models from churchdom, from Christendom. We owe a vast debt to you, oh, titan of freedom! You are our Prometheus.
37. Oh, to get to the point of just as soon turning to your humanness as your transcendence without compulsion, without impulse; but with judgment, perspective, understanding, wisdom.
38. What we need in our age above all is to come to a human-transcendence; and that is the enterprise for generations to come: a wondrous enterprise; a challenging, daring enterprise; the Olympic enterprise -- if not a terrifying enterprise!
39. Should you feel superior, or worse, arrogant, in what you believe to be your freedom in human-transcendence, you are sorely mistaken in that freedom, friend; because superiority and arrogance smack solely of the human, not of the transcendent. You're on the wrong track. Try again.
40. Enjoy your humanness; rejoice in your transcendence; let the one run into the other; for in the balance of both of these two sides of yourself, you are truly, fully human.
41. At the moment that I am aware that I am human, all-too-human, I am transcendent of my humanness. It is this willing awareness that transcends my self-will.
42. This human-transcendent wisdom, is surely the best of two worlds: the human and the transcendent.
43. This human-transcendent wisdom promotes and embraces the love in life; for not only does the adherent love his transcendent self, but his human self as well. And loving these in himself, how could he not love the same in others. In other words, he loves his weaknesses as well as his strengths, his good as well as his bad; and so, he loves his life, and life itself he loves too; and again, loving these, how could he not love the same in others who feel the same -- and even those who do not feel the same.
44. It takes a long time, if ever, for an idealist not to be embarrassed by his humanness; and just as long for him, her, to relax and modify the quest for perfection. The realists smile wryly, often piteously, at such individuals.
45. It is the all-too-human element in us which lulls us into submission, resignation, despondency, over misfortune. It is the more-than-human element in us which raises us above misfortune so as to bear, and better deal with, our suffering.
46. Realist. So, how is it with you lately. I haven't seen you for awhile.
Transhumanist. I'm fine. As a matter of fact, I'm wonderful. I've recently developed a philosophy of life for myself which I call human-transcendence. Realist. Mmm, interesting. Tell me about it.Transcendent-humanist. Well, it's freed me to be myself, not only as a human being, but as a transcendent being as well. Realist. Freed you in what sense? Transcendent-humanist. In the sense that I no longer disparage my humanness, nor demand so much from my transcendence.
R. But why would you want to disparage your humanness? It's natural, isn't it.
TH. Yes, but what is natural is not also so attractive nor commendable, to put it lightly.
R. True, but how can that be helped? After all, we're only human, as the saying goes.
TH. I know, but I've always had this drive to be more than human, to rise above the lowly, ugly side of my sensual, ego nature.
R. Oh? You wanted to be a saint?
TH. No, no, not a saint; rather I aspired to be more human than my natural self that wants only its way. I wanted to rise above my sensuality, my ego, my fears, my needs; and, I suppose, most of my desires too.
R. And have you had any considerable success in this pursuit?
TH. Considerable, yes; but not consistent. Like a pendulum, I have always swung from my humanness back to transcendence, and vice versa, without stop. Yet, I'm sure I've gained quite measurably in my transcendent life, but never to my satisfaction; my sensuality and ego, in general, have always interfered with any consistency.
R. And how has your new way of life -- what is it? your human-transcendence -- helped you in this struggle?
TH. Well, as I said, it has made me finally accept my humanness in all its variety in a relaxed, free, and cheerful way; and helped me not to require, or expect, so much of myself transcendently.
R. So, is what you're saying is that you now just give in to your natural impulses freely when they come upon you, and when satiated, you turn to transcendent matters?
T-H. Well, it's not that simple. I don't give in to every natural impulse -- heaven help me; and others too. Basically my transcendence helps me, and has always helped me, in those unspoken areas. But being unspoken, and unpracticed in good part, I'm at least no longer ashamed of those dark areas. I realize that they too are natural to my humanity. I didn't ask for them; life marked me with them; they are just as natural to me as my ego, or my fears, or my drives. I just don't care to be a slave to them, nor to let them undermine my well-being. In which case I have always turned to my transcendence: whether moral, spiritual, or aesthetic transcendence, to keep me in line, so to speak. The difference now is that I'm simply more relaxed about my frail, lusting, fearing, addictive, insecure,violent ego-sensual nature. I accept it as part of my makeup. I'm not struggling against it so much. It's here to stay regardless of how transcendent I may become. My struggle, my quest, if I may say, is to be as transcendent of this ego-sensual nature as I can so that I can realize my full potentials as a human being, as a living being. I want more life, and so I believe I have to get beyond the narrow, confinement of my ego-sensual nature; it's quite satisfied with its continuous, monotonous, round of life pleasures; and if I let it, it will take me to grave with them. and them alone. I want something more, and I mean to do something about it, so long as there is this unmistakable impulse in me, somehow, for me to do so; and this is my transcendence working in me. It balances out my ego-sensual nature while at the same time accepting and respecting it, even loving it , though not fully embracing it.
R. What do you mean by "balancing out" your ego-sensual nature?
TH. I mean my transcendence helps to keep the proper perspective of that part of me: that it is only part of me--and not necessarily the better part; and that though I may fail myself countless times, I pick myself up and carry on always making headway, however slight, toward the person I want to be: a well-balanced person; and that is my human-transcendence, and my freedom.
R. And what exactly is this transcendence that is doing such wonders for you?
TH. I don't know what it is exactly, but I can say that it is a state of consciousness that is beyond my own self-interest, or self-will, or self-preoccupation, or even self-concern. It includes a sense of the beautiful, of wonder, of love; it includes being observant of myself, of others, of nature; it includes the contemplation of life and existence and their meaning, of the order of things. It is a consciousness of delight, joy, vastness, power, bliss, the totality of things--everything conscious that goes beyond self-consciousness. It is what inspires me to the moral virtues: justice, generosity, courage, patience, self-control; it is what inspires me to be moderate in matters of sex, eating, desiring, fearing; it is what inspires the noble in me, the heroic: I would like not to fear pain, or suffering, or dying or failure or rejection; I would like not to think ill of others; I would like not to get angry; I would like to love so vastly that I rise above myself to embrace all opposites in life with deep understanding and not without pain...but that is my dilemma: I can only rise to such an occasion of self-lessness with the mightiest of pain -- the pain of self-denial; and yet I secretly want to be even beyond pain in this high transcendence. As a matter of fact, I realize that all this transcendence for which I strive is deep-down the need to go beyond the pain of human life; I want to be above it so that I can experience more life, be invincibly loving, taking all the pain of others upon my shoulders; let pain not matter to me -- let it be the ultimate pleasure for me! You see,I once believed that if I conquer my human- ness, I conquer pain and suffering and sorrow; and that victory would give me the might to stride the world like a god; and in my case, I would use that might for the good; and I would pass on to others this philosopher's stone, this holy grail.
Totally unrealistic. And so I came to think that it is not that I want to eliminate suffering, but that I want the strength to bear it. This was more a realistic approach to a transcendent life. But even that approach had its drawback for me; and that was -- and still is -- how could I possibly go through life continuously bearing pain at all times; my frail humanity is not up to it? You might have noticed how denying of my humanity my quest for transcendence was; it was a matter of either/or: either my humanness alone or my transcendence alone; no reconciliation; total control of one or the other: either all-too-human or more-than human; no more no less.
This outlook on life continued to be a losing battle for me until I came upon the light of wisdom in this life: don't pit the one against the other; balance them. Let that be the fight, not the vain struggle to control or master that which can never be controlled or mastered. And it was this realization that led me to the wisdom, the freedom, of human-transcendence.
R. Interesting. But tell me, does God, or some such spiritual entity, fit into this schema of transcendence of yours?
TH. Well, if I were to use the word "God," I would consider It as the whole range of this transcendent impulse in me, and in anyone else.
R. I see. And am I right?: your, our, humanness consists of anything that is self-induced, self-involved, self-motivated, self-concerned?
TH. Yes, whatever involves self-will.
R. And that your, our, transcendent self is any state of consciousness that is beyond self-consciousness, is that right?
R. And this wisdom of human-transcendence is exactly what again?
TH. A blend, a balance, a harmony between one's human self and one's transcendent self; or to omit the word "self," should it be thought that there are two selves involved her, let me just use one's humanness and one's transcendence as the totality of one's conscious reality.
R. Good. And what again is the advantage of this balance of which you speak? I mean, there are many people who are just as content and free in being human only, just as there are others who are content and free to be transcendent, or spiritual, only; such as, monks, seers, saints, sages, and all such people.
TH. Well, the advantage, at least for my type of individual who can neither decry nor deny either his humanness or transcendence, is that there is no longer dissension between the two; but rather a balance between them. I am no longer concerned with being perfectly this or perfectly that; and so, much tension and inner conflict have eased off. I don't claim to have realized this balance yet, but it's coming; I'm much more relaxed about myself than ever before. I don't know what is in store for me in this new inner adventure, but I can see no other way but to live in this free-flowing attitude, and let my natural defenses and propensities and aspirations take their effect.
R. Well, it sounds like a fascinating endeavor you've embarked upon, and I wish you all the success in it.
TH. Thank you. And how about you? Would you be interested in such a wisdom of life?
R. Oh, no; I have too many other interests right now to take on anything new, thank you. And besides, my life as it is quite satisfactory. I hope you're not going to try to convert me.
TH. Not convert you, but give you a new insight.
R. If you'll forgive me, you fellows are all alike; you find a way of life that fulfills you, and right away you think it will suit everyone.
TH. Yes, I suppose it's natural to want to share one's good fortune with others.
R. Well, don't take offense, but you care for your own soul, and leave me to mine; I'll be all right.
47. All that you accept regarding human nature is not necessarily, nor especially, all that of which you approve.
48. When the transcendent glow descends upon you, then surely bask in it for its duration; but try no to rue its departure, for our counterpart is not up to sustaining any one state of consciousness for long.
49. The very feeling of loving your humanness, and that in others, is in itself transcendent of you.
50. That you are more relaxed about the "lower" parts of your nature: your frailties, folly, vulnerabilities, lusts, greed, to name a few--in no way means that you'll feel free to indulge them all, or at all times uninhibitedly; after all, you do have your moral character to keep you "in line," to keep you upright; and if not your moral character, then your own self-respect and sense of decency; and if not even these to keep you on the "straight and narrow path," then the eye and judgment of others and society.
51. Being at ease with your failings and shortcomings and needs and impulses makes you more aware of yourself, since you no longer push away the unattractive or vulnerable sides of your nature as though they had no right to their place. And being sensitively aware of yourself, you are more likely to develop your transcendent side more expansively. And -- if you happen to be interested -- this process of growing awareness has its sure foundation in the Buddhist and Zen path of life.
52. It is so much easier, and freer, to prefer not to submit to one's natural inclinations in a particular areas than to feel compelled to because one must be ideal, perfect, or spiritual, or sensitive, or all loving, or all good, or because of sin or retribution.
53. Fall a thousand times, and stalwartly pick yourself up a thousand times and go on. Never despair. Living transcendently with one's fallible nature is the good, valiant fight. Let us win the race. Be sure that one day you will not fall so many times.
54. The wisdom of human-transcendence gives you your humanness in good cheer, and your transcendence in good measure.
55. "Being down to earth" -- that is the meaning of our humanness; getting to the order of our life is the meaning of our existence.
56. The ideal life: An acceptance of you as you are with a constant looking forward and up toward your ideals and hopes. And if you have renounced all ideals and hope, then let that be your acceptance, let that be your transcendence, let that be your nobility, your heroism, your freedom.
57. With human-transcendence one has his humanness in friendship when his transcendent mood or interest dispels; and of course he has his transcendence when under the pressure or oppression of his humanness. In either case, no depression, no boredom -- our two psychological scourges.
58. Being aware (the work of transcendence) one's very human moods of boredom, irritability, impatience, depression, and the like, makes it easier to deal with them, and so transcend them. In this way, one is not taken unawares so easily; he knows what to expect of himself, of his humanness.
59. So you made a mistake! so you spilt the milk! Smile at it. delight in your imperfections.
60. Defy life's harshness, meanness, adversities, horrors! This is being the overman, the transcendent humanist, the master of the situation.
61. Go ahead dig a ditch, sweep the floor, clean the toilet, the dog's mess; get your hands dirty, sweat under the hot sun, exhaust yourself physically. don't be so all mental, so all spiritual, so all dainty, so all meticulous. Live your human, earthly life lustily in delight of your clay humanity. It will do you good, will give savor to your life. And then when you return to your higher leanings, you will be refreshed, and more receptive--and more deserving.
62. How one becomes stalwart.-- by facing the brunt and hardships of his-her life and humanness; not by turning aside from them at such times. Face them, deal with them, flow with them, and they will respect you. Resist them and they will resist you, and you will suffer. Labor, sweat, plough under the scorching sun! Are you thirsty? Then be thirsty for a bit ; don't be so quick to drink; bear it a little. Be a man, be a woman: physically, mentally, morally, spiritually -- all the same, in the final analysis. We need courage, strong and true, so as not to buckle under the force of life. Meet force with force.
63. In accepting noble our humanness we are not so much in resistance against it, and so are better able to deal with it, when necessary.
64. Today I love mankind, but yesterday I didn't; and I know I have hated it too. But that is natural enough; since there is much to love about human life, much to be indifferent about, much to hate. We would be fools to love every side of humankind, be inhuman to be indifferent to everything human, and be hateful ourselves to hate it without letup.
65. When you need the aesthetic feeling, the sense of transcendence, then turn to works of beauty whether in art, science, nature, religion, philosophy, meditation, contemplation. But! Remember, this ethereal mood will pass, and then back to your other side you return: your all-too-human self. don't forget!
66. The only certainty in our psychic life is that we traverse from one mood to the next, one energy level to the next; and it is this certainty to which we must adjust.
67. Our humanness is ultimately fallible, weak; our transcendence ultimately infallible, strong.
68. Do you feel silly? Good. Be silly, then.
69. We want to be known as this, but not that; rather, let us be known as this and that. Let us have the daring to take such a step.
70. Yes you must maintain your dignity amidst the play of your various opposing elements; that is your honor. But who can sustain this dignity at all times, especially when alone, or with those with whom you live, or in your thoughts -- are your thoughts always so dignified and refined? Relax your dignified stance at times; it can be a bother, a burden, a bore to others -- but then you know this, don't you.
71. Delight in the diversities of life, of human life, as you joy in the unity, the beauty, the pure, the sublime, that is inherent to life without feeling embarrassed or ashamed if you go from "the sublime to the ridiculous," if you play the fool at times; but be the wise fool.
72. Joy to life! And though we suffer for it often enough -- joy to life nonetheless.
73. Impermanency is the soul of diversity.
74. Let your absolutes go, or I should say, your ideals of absolutes. There is nothing absolute in life; and that is where you are now: in life.
75. A realistic idealist is he or she who does not rule out the possibility and effect of ideals, but is realistic about them.
76. Coming to recognize and accept life's diversities, however ugly, bizarre and terrible they may be, amazingly relaxes one from tensions of one-sided, narrow attitudes and beliefs.
77. It is easier to love when there is more in life, in oneself, and in others, to love. This truth alone would justify the reality of diversity.
78. Self-freedom is the freedom that keeps one from being narrowed into isolated, stifling beliefs and attitudes. Open up! Clear your mind. Free your mind.
79. Diversity is the other side of unity, is its manifestations. Unity underlies diversity; in which case, what we have is diversity-in-unity.
80. However we may make light of our humanness, let us never forget that it is a serious, dead serious, affair. Frivolity, jest, folly, vanity, levity, are all fine in their place, as are the aesthetic, the moral, the spiritual. Let us not be of too good a cheer, let us not laugh too heartily, too long; else the force of life burgeoning in us will have the last laugh.
81. A: I don't believe in hating anyone or anything.
B: But you accept the opposites in life, don't you?
A: I do.
B: Then why can't you hate as well?
A: Because hate is destructive.
B: What? You would want to eliminate destruction?
82. Let guilt go! Give it a kick on its way out. You did, or did not, do it; All right, make amends if that is what is called for; and then pick yourself up and go on. That is your glory: that you can pick yourself up and go on; and perhaps in a more constructive, way. Don't crucify yourself because you did wrong. You will always do wrong in one way or another, more or less, as we all will, being fallible human beings. The quest for the transcendent-humanist is to aim for less than more often; but on our way, let us be easy on ourselves.
83. A deep harmony between inner polarities is needed - an ability to shift from one polarity to the next in oneself and in life as they occur with the least inner conflict and suffering.
84. Thank God -- should there be one -- for human diversity; and damn my ignorance when I judge others whose life style does no harm to me or others.
85. Awareness and acceptance of diversity is a humbling experience, for sure; but it is a humility that uplifts, strengthens, cheers, interests, fascinates. This is the humility I'm sure Christ meant.
86. Rather than put on airs of our importance or superiority, let us put on an air of cheerful, though strong, humanity toward all differences.
87. Yes, I am weak, but I prefer more to be strong; yes, I can be unjust, but I prefer to be just; yes, I lust, but I prefer more to love; yes, I am excessive, but I prefer more to be moderate; yes, I am inconsiderate, but I prefer more...and on and on. In sum, yes, surely I am all-too-human, but I prefer to be mostly transcendently human.
88. Accepting in a relaxed way your lusts, your weaknesses, your limitations, your fears, your violence, your weaknesses, your anger, your resentments, and all other undesirable traits, does not mean that you would give way to them at all times; after all, there is the other spirited, resisting side of you too that strives for more abundant life; and as it turns out in the natural order of things, lack of resistance restricts such abundance. But this resistance against oneself is not to be one of a brooding hostility, but one of a healthy competition of transcendence against humanness, and vice versa. Let neither side gain the victory -- it couldn't in any case; but keep both in the game aiming for the victory, and perhaps even coming close to it, but not knowing till the last breath who the winner is -- who has more points, so to speak.
89. Life is an endless becoming; and so, an infinity of forms and activities and variety .In other words, diversity is just as infinite (and eternal?) as unity .There is not one without the other - so my limited mind conceives of it.
90. We must be pliable, flexible; must lean with the wind of multiformity
91. If you are partial to good only, then injustice, evil -- your own too -- will repel you; if you expect to be perfect, beautiful of soul only, then imperfection, ugliness, coarseness -- your own too -- will repulse you; if you expect to be intelligent only and right at all times, then ignorance and error -- your own too -- will rankle you. You will be judging others -- and yourself -- ever. But the free spirit is above judging, for he-she is too engrossed in the play of opposites in life to be bound by mere judging, which has become a veritable bore to him; something he-she has outgrown long ago.
92. Just as you expect diversity and change in life itself, expect the same in people. Inconsistency is the specific human form of diversity and change. There are few, if any, people who remain constant in anyone way; life moves on, life takes its toll. It is the transcendent element in us that remains constant, not the human element; and it is the former which accounts for whatever constancy there is between people. Love is its name.
93. Expect much of yourself, but not too much; don't break under the pressure. And don't for get that you live with others too. Can they live comfortably with your austerity?
94. Life is a diverse unity.
95. Diversity is the given; unity an inference -- and not necessarily a valid one; but certainly a possible, even probable one. Reason, being itself diverse, cannot penetrate the given to the necessity of unity. Unity can only be intuited-which, of course, does not logically, empirically, prove it; yet in quite another way does prove it; for, from whence does this intuition of unity arise? It is too universal an intuition for it to be meaningless, an illusion. And quite as a matter of fact, it is experienced by the rare individual (and perhaps not so rare as thought): insights that reveal truths that show a unity of interaction ( the atomic theory) or of evolution (natural selection) that empirical reality in itself could never reveal. These intuitive insights can be considered transcendent. So we have intuition and experience of unity, which are valid forms of reality.
95. A: Strive to be good, beautiful of soul.
B: But I don't want always to be good or beautiful of soul: as a matter of fact. I can't.
96. Life is as much a unified whole as it is a diversified whole.
97. Because you are liberal and open in your attitude toward life's diversities does not mean that you can expect others to be at your insistence; so don't force your attitude on others -- at least not in large doses!
98. The free, open flowing attitude of diversity does not come easy at all times; it has to be worked at; for there is much and many to oppose such an attitude.
99. The freedom that the diverse life offers the individual to be or do what he likes with relative impunity is like the freedom one feels with a large savings account. He has no intention of spending that money; it is his security. Similarly, one may feel free to do what he likes and rests content in that feeling without ever desiring to follow through that feeling. But to know that he could, without embarrassment or guilt, relaxes him in the sense that he is human in all respects, and so could fall, but most likely he will not. He is concerned more with fostering the positive, expanding aspects of his humanity. That is just the way he is; and perhaps there is not much he can do about it. Character is destiny saith the old Greek sage.
100. To recognize, accept, live with, human frailties in oneself and in others make it much easier to live with oneself and with others; for we learn not to expect too much from ourselves and others.
101. Schopenhauer: "And what temptations we cannot overcome, give in to them." This is a passage -- and a truth -- that will always bother very much idealists, perfectionists, those of the spirit; especially coming from such a philosophic sage.
102. Whenever I do something impulsively, irrationally, then am I reminded of my primeval origins embedded in my cells. This side of me is as much -- if not more so -- a part of me as my rational nature.
103. The savage resides in you, be sure; but be wary that it does not come out of you. You will regret it.
104. Thoreau: "Our lives will not attain to be spherical by lying on one or the other side forever; but only by resigning ourselves to the law of gravity in us, will our axis be coincident with the celestial axis and [only] by revolving incessantly through all circles, shall we acquire a perfect sphericity." -- The attitude of human-transcendence right to the point.
105. Walk proud that you are human, but soften that pride with the grace of your transcendence.
106. Let us love our frailties as we do our strengths, our folly as we do our wisdom, our playas we do our seriousness. Let us be human in our transcendence. and transcendent in our humanness.
107. Refuse to make others make you feel embarrassed, guilty, a fool, for enjoying simple, silly, "deca- dent," pleasures -- for being who you are. So you are a professor, a doctor, a judge, a minister, a lawyer; are you not also a fun-loving human being? --I hope you are, or heaven help those who live with you. Be serious when you must; but play otherwise. Be this and that: a sage and a clown, an authority figure and a friend, a classicist and a romantic. an idealist and a realist, a person of precision and a person who also makes, and freely admits his mistakes, an artist and an artisan; one who works with his mind and his body, who loves his spirit and his body. This open attitude is all very well; but the timing and self-command necessary for this attitude take a wisdom of sorts.
108. Come, let us put on the new man! -- not only for ourselves, but for our descendents who will look upon us with noble and majestic pride as we do our Greek and Roman ancestry.
109. Leave off the stance of being Dr. this or Monsignor that; Sir Importance, Lord Superior, Saint Sage. If you are these by natural capacity or social appointment, then fine; it is the stance to which I refer .
110. It can be a complicated, confusing matter to consider the possibility of corning to love the lower rungs of our humanity; but with the right understanding and point of view, it can be a quite simple, natural matter; for then one is with life all the way, not only partly with one foot on earth and the other in heaven, not quite on one nor in the other.
111. Camus: "Rama Krishna on trade:
'The truly wise man is he who feels contempt for nothing.'
Do not confuse sanctity with idiocy ."
112. And what does not feeling contempt for anything imply but that such a wise individual has come to accept and love the diversity and opposites in both human life and all other forms of life.
113. There is beauty and goodness in life just as there is ugliness and evil. We've known this all along. Life has it that way, and who are we to deny or reject the one over the other? True, the one delights and the other pains; but are we such softlings that we would want only the delightful?
114. You say your life has been a wreck. Others did it to you, more than you yourself. You have no promise in your life. Rage, and resentment war in your mind. Depression sinks it often enough. You have no God to turn to. A few friends make it possible for you to go on. Yet your life is on the wane. Your humanity has fairly much done you in. Nothing seems left...except your transcendence! And what can your transcendence do for you? Well, let's take a review of some of its aspects:-- our sense of beauty. our acts of love, our tendency toward goodness, toward right, toward grace, toward being, toward contemplation, meditation; our impulse to create, to know, to understand, to observe, to reflect, to analyze; our intuitions and visions of universal truths; nirvanic states of pure bliss-light-power. Of these aspects, which appeal to you
115. Life itself is ugly and cruel; and humans and animals are merely instruments of this bleak side of life. They didn't ask for it; it was biologically given free of charge. and so, let us be a little more hesitant before we judge too severely, too cruelly, the evil that comes over us impulsively. Fortunately, most of us are not so easily overcome by such force; but others by temperament and constitution are mere playthings to this force of evil in life. They haven't a chance; they're victims, as we all are in our own way. So, why all this judgment and prejudice and bigotry and condemnation and humiliation?
Let us consider the sexual side of us for a minute to make my point stronger. Those given uninhibitedly to their sexual nature we denominate as whores, rakes, degenerates, perverts. but did they freely choose their particular proclivity, I ask you proponents of free will ? When puberty washed over them like a flood, did they, could they, carefully deliberate whether puberty should or should not have such a volcanic effect on them? Was it their choice to be so sexually sensitive that they become engulfed by the least sexual stimulation, and can think of hardly anything else? Are they to be condemned for their "sins" to everlasting hellfire for their natural tendencies? Rather condemn life than these poor souls who received such an untoward fate -- untoward not so much for the individual who might very well be content with his endowment, but untoward because of the price society exacts on them in ridicule, condemnation, rejection, punishment. Not to say that the extremes of sexuality do not have to be kept in check; but they don't have to be degraded. After all, in the final say, it is life itself that is the culprit.
116. But how many can attain, let alone maintain, this point of view? and how many of these can put such a point of view in practice?
117. Still, there is always tomorrow, always something to look forward to; and the least, if not the most, we can say about people in general is that they get bored with anyone way of looking at matters. And so, for no other reason than boredom, they might try a new way of life. And if so, then, my fellow men and women, we have a future to look forward to.
These introductory remarks, then, offer a general understanding of the wisdom of human-transcendence, an understanding that can become a practical reality and help lead us to the self- freedom of which we seek. Were we to summarize these remarks into an overall outline, an understanding of this human-transcendence outlook would become clearer, and so, more workable.
Accordingly, we could view the human side of us from five broad perspectives: pleasure, pain, need, want, and self; and the transcendent side of us from five broad perspectives as well: truth, right, understanding, grace, and being.
We feel both physical and psychological pleasures and pains; we have both physical and psychological needs and wants; and it is the self of us that harbors, bears, these pleasures and pains, needs and wants separately and interactively. It is these attributes that make up the human composite being. Basically, tension is what prevails in this human realm: tension between pleasure and pain, between various wants and needs, and the self which is made to deal with all of these variables, consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously.
It is the transcendent in us that is concerned with the truth (psychological, moral, aesthetic, spiritual truth), with right (that which is justly right), with understanding (self and other-directed understanding; understanding the meaning of life and the world), with grace (beauty of person and action and works), and with being (the sheer awareness of, the being, one's mental condition -- whether of pain, pleasure, want, need, or self -- without judgment, analysis, or any other form of rational cognition; as well as the contemplation of being in its universal meaning).
Our transcendence eases the tension of our human side inasmuch as it moderates our human traits into the proper perspective of feeling and action so that we experience our pains and pleasures, our needs and wants, our self, in perspective of what is true and right, with understanding and grace, and in accordance with being simply that pain or pleasure, need or want, or state of self-consciousness.
If anything, human-transcendence is a intuitive psychology: a psychology of the wisdom of the human species -- of which we all are and share. The more in touch we are with the wisdom of our species, the more understanding we are of ourselves and of others. And so it is incumbent upon us to come to under- stand not only our human psychology but our transcendent, or intuitive, psychology as well. The more understanding we derive, the more meaningful our lives will become regardless of our station or circumstances.
And this understanding takes a kind of heroism because of the psychological barriers and fears we must break through to attain the first glimmerings of this understanding. Once the glimmerings appear, though, you will then know that the glimmerings will become brighter and more constant; and you will be on your way to your self-freedom.
And what are these glimmerings? They are the sunken, intuitive truths of your life, and of life itself, surfacing to your consciousness. They are not only the painful, repressed, or otherwise blocked truths, but truths that define you as a person apart from your repressions and anxieties and rage and expectations of others. They are truths that you can begin to clothe yourself with which fit you comfortably as the individual person that you are and had lost. They are complex (raveled) psychological truths, but simple (clear) intuitive truths. An intuitive truth is beyond self-consciousness; and so is transconscious. When an intuitive truth surfaces to the conscious mind and influences (changes) our psychology, we then are in a transconscious state of understanding; and with that understanding comes the rush of freedom -- freedom from ignorance's rule in a particular situation. We act truly, wisely, from that quantum of understanding; and depending upon the range of that quantum of understanding, our entire lives could change for the better -- regardless of the ruins we leave behind. When the truth - an intuitive truth -- illuminates us; we can never return to our former darkness. Then we can accept the pain of change, of development, of freedom regardless of what is at stake; for first of all, in a way, we have no choice but to act wisely; and secondly, with a taste of freedom, who would want to return to slavery again, except those who know nothing else, or who are slavish by nature; and thirdly, this intuitive truth puts us in touch -- humanly -- with our transcendence. Thus our human-transcendence.
What we are to explore then is the human condition in search of understanding -- higher understanding -- so that we may click in to, make contact with, our intuition; which is the reservoir, so to speak, of the wisdom of our species -- our transcendence. And being in contact with our transcendence, we expect that we will be on the road to our self-freedom. And with this self- freedom we will finally be the person we always wanted to, but failed to come up to. and what is this person, but the moral, spiritual individual who acts rightly and lovingly, if not at all times, then most of the time; the virtuous person who is generous, brave, considerate, patient, at the right time, in the right circumstances, with the right person. This is the person who has freed himself from the bondage of his ego-self, with its fears, anxieties, lusts, impulses, insecurities enough so that he acts in wisdom. Nothing matters more than that he acts in wisdom -- which is rightly, truthfully, understandingly, in grace, and in touch with his essential being: his soul.
This state of grace is "devoutly to be wished," however unrealistic it may be to a particular person. This is the transcendent specter that hounds him through his life and failings to the grave. He achieves this wisdom at times, and in part; but hardly ever to the extent that he strives for, that he idealizes. He is forever caught in the wheel of life: now this-now-that. Inconsistency, inconstancy are his life; yet he struggle on for more consistency, more constancy, more virtue, more wisdom -- more transcendence, in a word.
The tragedy of this state of affairs for so many idealists is that they cannot reconcile themselves to their humanness; they cannot come to terms with it. Their transcendence is too demanding on them; and so they strive and struggle and suffer to attain transcendence to the exclusion and detriment of their humanness. They see themselves as degraded sinners, moral weaklings, carnal animals; natural functions bother them very much. They cry out in their souls, "Purity before all else!" By feeling degraded, they in turn degrade their humanity; and those closest to them suffer for it. they must live on a plane higher than the vulgar, mundane masses. They resent, and criticize, and judge, and deplore gross in others and in themselves. Normal human sensuality, sexuality, money-making, pettiness are below them even though they themselves are subject to the same given the appropriate circumstances.
It takes many of these idealists years to come to a faint understanding and acceptance of their own fallibility, and weakness, and vulnerabilities; to the realization that they too are all-too-human, and that most likely will never near the high moral and transcendent ideals for which they for so many years strove and suffered. They realize that the lack of understanding of their psychology, their transcendence, have been mainly the cause of their failure. They may have tried all the moralities, all the religions, all the psychologies, all the therapies, all the philosophies; and however much understanding they had gained, they still find themselves empty-handed, so to speak; still subject to their own human peculiarities, susceptibilities, vulnerabilities, weaknesses, neuroses. They find themselves giving either too much credence to their psychology to the exclusion of their transcendence, or vice versa; and they somehow cannot balance, reconcile, the two.
This is where the wisdom of human-transcendence comes into play; why both a psychological and transcendent understanding of oneself is so crucial to attain to a measure of wisdom. One must face his vices (excesses) before he can attain his virtues (medians). The more psychological understanding a person attains the more receptive he is to intuitive understanding. And the more intuitive understanding one attains the more in touch with wisdom he will be -- which is the optimum for which he is living.
It is the purpose of this work to help lead the receptive reader to this wisdom. And this wisdom can best be attained by exploring first our humanness in its natural state, then our human-transcendence in its struggle beyond this natural state; and finally our transcendence in its intuitive wisdom that inspires this struggle.
Let me begin with our most familiar side: our humanness. In this way we can become more aware of the many obvious, and not so obvious obstacles -- some of them formidable -- to the self-freedom of which we so aspire. I might consider our humanness to be walls against our self- freedom, and our human-transcendence, bridges toward this self-freedom -- which is our transcendence.
V: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMANNESS
Sharon. In what sense do you use the word our "humanness"? Couldn't you just as well use the word our "psychology"?
Joseph. As I see it, our humanness is one pivotal range of our psychology. Put simply, it is our vulnerability.
Sharon. Vulnerability to what?
Joseph. To necessity.
S. Necessity to what?
J. To our humanized animal nature.
S. Which is?
J. The composite of our pleasures and pains, our wants and needs, and our self -- or self-identity.
S. Well, if these are what define our humanness, without which, I suppose, we would be no more than clams, why then do you consider them our vulnerability? The higher animals -- the apes, in particular -- are made up of this composite of pleasures, pains, wants, needs, and self. They don't manifest any significant signs of vulnerability -- boredom, for one -- even though they are vulnerable to sickness, attack, aging, etc.
J. True; but the distinctive mark of the human animal is our self-consciousness: the awareness of being a human being -- and all the psychology that derives from that reality.
S. I see that. In sum, then what you're saying is that our self-awareness if our vulnerability, which in turn, defines our humanness.
J. Right. It is our self-awareness that motivates us to imitate, explore, innovate, be curious, beyond mere animal consciousness.
S. I noticed that you're speaking both of self-consciousness and self-awareness. Are you using the two terms interchangeably?
J. No, not precisely. There is a distinction. As self-conscious, we are psychologically human; as self-aware, we are transcendently human.
S. You'll have to explain that carefully to me.
J. Let me put it in a nutshell: as self-conscious, we know what we are doing; as self-aware, we know why we do what we do: we know the motives or intentions of our actions. And it is this knowing-why that troubles us so much that would make Thoreau declaim that we all live in quiet despair. ...Well, I don't know about all of us; but at least those who are self-aware. I think that as soon as a human being begins asking "why" of his existence, or of existence itself, self-awareness clicks in with the reality that there either are no answers or that if there are answers, we can't know them all or to their limit. And this troubles, frustrates us, to the point of despair, dread, angst, anxiety, of all sorts. And for these self-aware individuals, knowing that there are so many unanswerable questions to their lives, realize the mystery to life and existence: Why? Why? Why? No answers despite all the answers! And this troubles them, consciously and/or unconscious- ly, some to the extent that they must pursue this unknowable mystery all their lives; or they take to faith or a religion, astrology, or any meaningful (to them) answers that will explain the mystery away so that they can be rest assured that all's right in God's heaven and earth.
When under such an influence, the mere human is looked at askance, is perceived as a block to the answer to these inscrutable mysteries. They think that if they minimize their human side the Other side will appear in all its glory, that the Holy Grail will be given them. From that point, all natural human-animal functions become cumbersome, "animal," even "unnatural"; They must limit the irrational in us and emphasize the rational -- at least to the barest minimum, otherwise we'd die as individuals and as a species -- wants, needs, pleasures, pains, self, so that the Answers will pour into our being. Then, guilt enters the picture, since our animal-human side will not give in so easily to such tomfoolery, unless we divorce ourselves from mainstream humanity - hence monks, sanyasins, gurus, and the priesthood to a good extent. And even then there is no escaping entirely the lure of sensuality
Now we can attribute all this anxiety-ridden frame of mind to the bane or boon, depending upon the individual, of self-awareness. Without self-awareness, no such mental dendrites would be created, and so no psychological ideation. We could still be self-conscious, as so many people only, or mostly, are; that is, know that we are alive, know that we are to die, know how to reason, know how to build and create, know that we are propagating our race differently than the animals, know that we are man and woman beyond male and female, know the similarities and differences between the sexes, between the races, between justice and injustice, and so forth. But without enquiring as to the why and wherefore of these human conditions, no, or few, psychological "problems" would arise, and so no reason not to enjoy our human sensuality. Why should our pleasures, wants and needs be curbed so long as no one is hurt except oneself, perhaps; so long as we are not striving to transcend our minds to answer the mysteries of life and existence? Yes, we are still vulnerable: vulnerable to the consequences of excess, of public opinion, of failure, of rejection, of insult, of embarrassment; but we are not vulnerable to anxieties, neuroses, and the like. This is the position of the self-conscious individual.
S. Well that was quite an exposition, and fairly much explains the issue at hand. But how does all this relate to our humanness?
J. We, as human, are all vulnerable to stimuli that arouse our erotic nature, our vital nature, our self-nature. This vulnerability, when active, pains us for relief, for satisfaction, for gratification; there's almost no stopping this very human process. The more self-aware we are of this vulnerability, the more we realize how bound we are to our sexual, vital, self wants and needs; how they interfere with our higher leanings, how tedious they can become, how victimized we are to them, how limiting they are. Those who are mainly self-conscious only, can continue in the round of pleasures with their pains, wants and needs, self-stimulation with hardly a thought of the mysteries of life and existence; but the self-aware individuals suffer deeply knowing that they are stuck, stymied, frustrated, in their humanness; that their lifelong habits and conditioning that ground them to their humanness are walls to their transcendence -- that is, to the freedom that they sense is to be found in the answers to the mysteries of life and existence. The Faust legend is the paradigm of a man who sells his soul to the devil so that he can get to, unravel, the ultimate secrets of nature.
S. I see now quite well your distinction between self-consciousness and self-awareness, that the former knows the facts of his life; whereas the latter, not only knows but questions these facts; and I agree with it; I also see that the self-aware person suffers more than the self-conscious person for his questioning awareness. However, I'm still not clear on the vulnerability relationship to our humanness. Wouldn't you apply the term "humanness" to the self-conscious person as well?
J. Well, in the general sense of the word, yes; as humanness is the noun form of "human", which applies to all attributes characteristic of mankind. In a more specific sense of the word, however, as I am using it, its meaning applies to the self-aware person. In which case, we say of such a person that his humanness conflicts with his transcendence; or in other words, her all-too-human side conflicts with her more-than-human side. In other words, whatever psychological traits and behavioral patterns that contrast, or limit, a person's aspirations and inspirations of a higher, transcendent, ideal order, then those traits and patterns can be classified as that person's humanness. Is that clear?
S. Let me see if I've gotten it. Is this what you're saying: whatever psychological traits or actions, motives, or intentions we have that conflict with our transcendent nature, these are what constitute our humanness? Is that right?
J. Yes; you've put it quite succinctly.
S. Good. Now let me follow your argument through step by step. In the beginning of our discussion, you said that our humanness is our vulnerability. Is that right?
S. Yet in the course of your argument, you've included self-conscious individuals as vulnerable too.
J. That's right; but with the distinction that self-aware individuals are vulnerable to necessity; that's the key word.
S. Necessity to what?
J. To the laws, the chains, of our animal human nature. We are all bound to them, yet the self-aware individuals intuit a freedom from them in the Other reality of essence and being, infinity and eternity, in structure and form, in order and unity, and all that which drive philosophers, scientists, sages, spiritualists, seers, to seek the universal unifying principle to it all.
S. I see now. And the self-aware ones are those who realize that in order to grasp these concepts, to experience their Reality, they have to be fairly free from, or moderate in, the agitations of sense pleasures, and the distractions of ego concerns?
J. Yes; and they believe that this paring down of our ego-sensuality will free us in good part from necessity; because then we will be free from this vulnerability of our humanness.
S. I've got it now. Let me see if I can sum it up for myself. Self-aware individuals are vulnerable to the necessities of human nature because they intuit a Reality in which they are free from this necessity. Am I on track so far.
J. You are.
S. Yet being alive in this reality subjects them to its natural bio-psychological determinants - pleasures, pains, needs, wants, self - which they strive to minimize so as to reach the freedom intuited in this Other Reality. Am I still on track?
J. Keep going.
S. Now all bio-psychological thoughts and acts which conflict with those thoughts and acts pertinent to this Other Reality are what constitute our humanness.
J. You've got it.
S. And there is no such conflict with people who are only self-conscious?
J. Well, I wouldn't say no conflict whatsoever, for human nature is so diversely complex that we couldn't possibly unravel the nexus of human consciousness; but in the main, no.
S. What word then do we attribute to the vulnerability of self-conscious individuals?
J. I would think the term "humanity" in the sense that it is of the nature of our common humanity that we are all vulnerable to our psycho-physical make-up. To term this common humanity as "humanness" in a certain set of human beings is a simply matter of perspective, of clarification, of relationship.
S. Of relationship to the Other Realty that they intuit.
J. Yes, or more specifically, our transcendent nature.
S. I've noticed you used the term "transcendence" a few times in our discussion. I'd like to explore its meaning another time.
J. Yes, let's. Since you might recall that at the beginning of our discussion, I stated that as self-conscious, we are psychologically human; and as self-aware, we are transcendently human. So there is a need to understand what I mean by "transcendently human".
VI: THE PHILOSOPHY OF TRANSCENDENCE
Sharon. All that you write revolves around the concept of transcendence. I like the word; it seems to have significant meaning.
Joseph. It has even more meaning when you personalize it as my transcendence.
S. What is my transcendence?
J. Everything just and wise that you are. In other words, whenever you act justly and wisely -- or in justice and in wisdom -- you are acting, or being, transcendent.
S. How do I know when I'm acting justly or wisely? It seems very complex to me.
J. Well, first of all, we can simplify the matter by saying that when you act justly, you as much act wisely, and vice versa; in which case, you have done the right thing.
S. Sounds even more complex to me; because in my experience, doing the right thing can be as difficult as a novice archer hitting a bulls-eye.
J. And why do you think that is?
S. Well, for one thing, our ignorance gets in the way, clouds our mind; as do our ego, our impulses, our passions, our fears, our lusts, our insecurities, and on and on.
J. Speaking of bulls-eyes, you hit the bulls-eye with that truth. So, then are you saying that doing the right thing is almost impossible?
S. Certainly in most cases, unless you're a monk, or a bachelor, with few responsibilities. It's all to much, too overwhelming, too requiring, to have to be doing the right thing all the time. There's no end to it, no let up. We falter after a while; we're not up to it. Too many obstacles bar the way: fatigue, varying moods, impatience, disappointments, to name a few of our human frailties.
J. I see. Now, before we go on, we have to be clear in what respect we're using the word "right." We're using it mainly in regards to our personal and interpersonal well-being. We're not using it in regards to our work and in relation to our co-workers and peers. Doing the right thing in these areas do not pose too much of a problem for most people, since our job is at stake, for one thing, and we're getting paid for doing the right thing. Nor are we using the word in moral matters; since we are not faced with many moral decisions or dilemmas in the normal course of our daily lives. And for those who are moral-minded, doing the right thing morally, does not normally pose much of a conflict.
So, given that right is not a problem in the matters just mentioned, it is clearer as to what we are referring to in speaking of the immense difficulty in consistently doing the right thing in every day matters. Regarding this thought, the title of an old love song comes to me: "Little Things Mean a Lot."
S. And what are these "little things"?
J. They're innumerable, of course. But a few of them are: "Should I pick up this piece of paper or leave it for her to pick it up?" Leaving things to the last minute; having to have the last word in everything; holding grudges; leaving undone what should be done. And then there is the whole host of unfair conduct toward others, such as: pettiness, insults, impatience, irritability, inconsideration, spite, criticisms, backbiting, gossiping, prying, and on and on and on.
S. All this negativity seems to stem mainly from one's ego, doesn't it.
J. That's right; and the insensitivity and desiring and greed, and vanity; the misunderstandings, prejudices, denials, delusions, power hunger, and more, are all symptoms of the ego-directed person.
S. It's amazing, even astonishing, of how much we have going against us in this matter of right-doing.
J. That's true. They keep us, in good part, from not only doing right, but in ignorance of what is right. We perceive and judge a situation or person more by our ego perspective than by their perspective, than by fuller truth of the matter.
S. Right. And without knowing the fuller truth of a situation, or of a person, how can we possibly know what is the right thing to do in so many complex situations. So, we "play it by ear"; we act from what we "feel" is right, from our experience, than with understanding.
J. Exactly. So, where are we now in this matter of right and transcendence?
S. I'm not sure, but I do know that acting only from our ego engenders much conflict and hostility between people.
J. That's for sure. No wonder that sages and seers and gurus of all ages and climes have insisted upon dispelling the ego if there is to be any spiritual -- or in our terminology: transcendent -- advancement.
S. But hardly anyone wants to, or can, let go of their ego. That's all they have, or, so they think.
J. And no convincing them otherwise will ever alter that state of mind.
S. So, there seems nothing to do then. Mankind is fixed ever in his ego with just glimmerings of something beyond it: something more valuable, more precious, more life-affirming, more complete.
J. That's true, but with this one proviso: that not everyone is so ego-bound that it governs their every act and thought. There are countless people, I'm sure, who do see the truth, who are understanding, beyond their ego. These are the individuals who, not being so compelled by their ego, can see clearly the right thing to do however they might not be able to act upon that insight.
S. But don't these individuals you're describing have a low self-esteem, in the first place?
J. I think you're confusing two concepts here. There is a distinction between a person's ego and his self. Ego is just one integral facet of the total self-complex, not similar or identical to it. The ego is concerned with the "I"; with the "me first," the "I am the best," the "I am someone special -- more than you". The self, on the other hand, involves our vital nature: its fears, needs, anxieties, guilt; its will to life, to keep the body healthy, and more. It covers the whole range of emotions and sentiments involved in the erotic element in us -- marriage, children, family.
Accordingly, a person may have a low ego threshold, yet by fulfilled as a parent, a spouse, a profes- sional, a worker. In which case, his self-esteem is at a high key. On the other hand, another person may have a strong ego, but because of various setbacks and failures in family life and professional life, his self-esteem would be at a low ebb.
S. Can we say, then, that an egoistic, or egotistical, person is not the same as a self-loving person?
J. Good question; and right on the mark. We could put it this way: vanity is an earmark of ego, which renders a person insensitive to anything much beyond that vanity; whereas, pride is an earmark of self-esteem, which can be a noble trait in a person.
S. So it is the ego that has to go, not the self?
J. Well, we couldn't very well function as human without our self; but we could fairly much without our ego.
S. So, having made this distinction between the self and the ego, where are we now?
J. That, where the ego prevails and its vanity predominates in an individual, there he or she stays enmeshed. For those whose ego and vanity are a minimal part of their psychological makeup, these are the ones who can be receptive to transcendence.
S. By which you mean receptive to justice and wisdom?
J. Right. For then they are open to knowing the truth about a situation or person or themselves. And with this truth, they can gain an understanding that will help balance their self with the wisdom of their total being.
S. Their total being?
J. Yes, the totality of their physical and mental structures and processes.
S. That's an infinite interchange of energy and matter.
J. Yes. where does it end?...Or is there an end to it all?
S. I don't suppose we'll ever know.
J. Certainly not "know"; but perhaps "be".
S. Well, rather than we get into the metaphysics, or spirit, of this, let me ask you. You defined transcendence at the beginning of our talk as "everything just and wise that we are"; which I think gives an excellent understanding in one sentence. I'm thinking, however, why you didn't include "loving" in it; since love is such an all-pervasive, positive concept, that I believe is the basis of justice and wisdom, or more particularly, of our being just and wise.
J. It's interesting that you should ask this question because it anticipates my own thoughts. as I see it, transcendence is love. It is the undercurrent, the essence, of all that we are and all that we do in good and in evil, and in between.
S. That's quite a stupendous statement! But, I have a question. Didn't you identify transcendence with everything just and wise that we are? Now you're saying that transcendence is everything, period; which means to me that transcendence is not only the just in us, but the unjust as well, not only the wise in us, but the ignorant in us as well. Then you say that transcendence is love; which, according to you, is the source of both good and evil. Can you clear this up for me? I'm terribly confused.
J. Well, first of all, we have to make a distinction between the words "source" and "cause" in this matter of love. Love as the source of good or evil is not the cause of either. Let me explain. I see it, love in its broadest, most universal, sense is the bond of unity. Now this bond can be considered as an attractive force or principle, or whatever else; but it is that which holds each entity together as its own unique form and structure and function. In this sense, love is the source of everything, of the world. To take this point one step further, everything that occurs in this world of unified "things," or "facts," or "relationships" - depending upon whether we are referring to energy or matter - comprises our three-dimensional, perceptive reality of cause and effect, time and space, form and structure. Is this clear so far?
S. Fairly so, yes. But please, don't get too scientific or metaphysical on me.
J. Don't worry, I won't. I'm coming to my point now, anyway; which is: This source -- Love -- as I envision it, is causeless, effectless, timeless, formless, and so forth. The categories of time, space, cause and effect, and so forth, exist within the three-dimensional (or more dimensions?) phenomenon of our existence. Love, on the other hand, is of the noumenon, or source, of this phenomenon. Again, it is that which binds every- thing together as a unified whole. Now, what occurs from there, to put it loosely, is a matter of cause and effect and all else phenomenal. To keep just to the cause and effect categories, these have nothing to do with this bond--this love, this source. This Love is of a transcendent reality, beyond our world of multiplicity.
S. As distinguished from the unity of love?
J. Yes. And, of course, we're in the age-old philosophical-religious distinction between multiplicity and unity, appearance and reality, and the like. But we're looking at it from a different perspective: from that of love.
S. I see that.
J. To continue my line of thought. Love, then, as the source of all that is, exists, or subsists, beyond the realm of that which it unifies; it is transcendent of them. Now deeply buried - to speak metaphorically - within this love, this bond, is the meaning of not only the unity of which love binds, but of love itself. Meaning, as I envision it, is the ultimate reality -- if I may call it "reality." Meaning is not just another cause, even if we consider it as the "first" cause, as Aristotle put it. Whatever Aristotle may have meant by "first cause," it is an unfortunate term, or translation of his term, as the ultimate, because the phrase still bears the connotation of cause -- including effect; whereas, cause has to be totally eliminated in our minds to grasp even a hint of what is meant by Love or Meaning in its ultimate reality. And the closest metaphorical term I can think of at the present which conveys the concept of Love as being the bond (meaning) of the unity of all things, is "source." This concept leaves suspended in the mind as to exactly what it is or "does." But we know there is a distinction between it and the concept of "cause," however we may ever fail to grasp its meaning.
S. You're treading deep waters here, and beginning to sink me.
J. And this is where I'll stop; and leave it as a sketch to ponder at our leisure.
S. For sure. What does come across, however valid or sound your philosophy of Love may be, is that it surely is transcendent of our reality.
J. Yes, and that is what I meant when I said that transcendence is love; and of course, vice versa.
S. That's beautiful and very meaningful to me.
J. It is, isn't it; and I could go into why it's meaningful to you, but I won't.
S. Please don't! I've had enough -- except for one last point, to wrap up our discussion.
J. Go ahead.
S. Can you put all the pieces together that we've discussed so that I can get a composite picture to take with me?
J. Well, let me recapitulate as best I can. You originally asked what is your transcendence, and I answered that it is everything just and wise that you are. We then pursued that line of thought through a distinction between ego and self in relation to right action. Next, you asked why I didn't include love with just and wise in my statement about transcendence. This point led us to my identifying love with transcen- dence. Having settled that matter, I can now see that I haven't explained sufficiently enough why the two are identical.
S. Yes, that's what's missing in the completeness of all this.
J. Before I go into it, I can use a commonplace analogy regarding the planet Venus. We call it the "morning star" where we see it in the morning, and the "evening star" where we see it in the evening. So there are three names for the same object with each name giving a different connotation. Is that clear?
S. It is.
J. Now regarding love and transcendence, I say that love is identical to transcendence inasmuch as both words refer, or connote, the same source, or essence. Love is transcendent inasmuch as it essentially "goes beyond" our reality of rational categories and perceptual experiences.
S. I've got that; but how does this all relate to justice and wisdom?
J. Well, if love is the source of everything, and we are part of everything, then love is the source of our being. Clear enough reasoning, right?
S. Right; yet I'm always a leery when reasoning is used to prove that which is beyond reasoning.
J. Rightfully so, Yet, for our purposes, let's place our trust in our reason; for remember what Aristotle said about it, that however small it may be compared to our whole nature, it nevertheless surpasses everything in value and importance, since it is the immortal part of us.
S. You have that down well from memory. Yes, I'll go along with that.
J. Fine. Now, granting that love is our source, that it is the attractive force or power, or principle that binds all things together as one; then we can assume that we can participate in, or approximate, this source, this love, by attracting, rather than repelling, others, whether human or animal, and everything related to them.
S. That makes good sense.
J. Furthermore, in order for us to attract, and not repel, others, we cannot be governed by our ego predominantly, because it causes agitation, conflict, hostility, stress, and the like, which are destructive to relationships and our own well-being.
J. So, back to the lessening of the ego that we discussed earlier; and with the ego out of the way, so to speak, we are more receptive to the truth of a situation or person, to yourself as well; and so are better able to understand that truth; and so, act rightly - which is to say, justly and wisely. And thereby we act in love; because justice and wisdom, truth and right, are transcendent of the ego. and this transcendence gives us a grace of being that we otherwise are not capable of consistently; since we then are acting more fully, more from our being, than from our little ego.
S. That pretty much says it all, doesn't it.
J. Again, only as a sketch. There are all kinds of problems involved in displacing the ego for our trans- cendence, or better said: our transcendence taking the ascendancy over our ego. There will always be the difficulty in knowing what the right thing to do is in various circumstances, as well as being able to do the right thing; though we will be better equipped to know it functioning more from our transcendence than from our ego.
S. At least in understanding our transcendent nature, we have the guidelines, a picture of -- what should I call it? -- the transformation of our consciousness.
J. That's right. And then there is the perennial problem of evil both in others and in ourselves, and in life, that we have to come to terms with, and deal with. As I see it, that is the next stage of our conscious evolution.
S. True. We desperately need a human balance with our transcendence to grapple with that problem - a human-transcendence, as I might call it.
J. Perfect. And should this transformation take place in enough people, then one day there might be an ascendancy of justice and wisdom over injustice and ignorance.
S. And then truly we'll have a "brave new world" to live in.
VII: A POSTSCRIPT
Human-Transcendence as a Wisdom of Insecurity
This I asked my wife: What would it be like were I to live by my belief that everything is ordained Meaning?
I mean, if I really believed that everything is meant to be -- and let me add: and if it were true? -- then why would I be so quietly anxious all the time: about my work, about my family, about others, about security? Why not just flow with life, as it is, as it must be?
"Monumental questions," as my wife put it; and added, were probably impossible to answer. ...Ah, a challenge! Impossible, did she say?
And so I armor myself for another transcendent quest.
This thought comes to me: The new warrior of the soul: He-she who combats fatigue, inertia, impatience, irritability, insecurity, unwarranted lust, in order to be more than one's ego-self -- to simply be whatever is!
A Dialogue of Meaning
With truth in one pocket and faith in the other Let us face the unknown.
Let us leap into our destiny:
to circumvent the law of supply and demand,
to overwhelm the rule of the few over the many, to wrestle the inertia of passivity,
to penetrate the blind force of will.
Let us be worthy
Let us be mighty.
Let us be warriors of the soul.
Enact your noblest deeds from your profoundest need.
Set aside security.
In place of what?
For the wisdom of insecurity.
And let my children starve?
Your children will not hunger.
Guarantee me that.
There are no guarantees.
I can't live with that.
And in that way your children starve.
For the succor of your strength.
Security, then, is weakness?
Not weakness, but death.
The instincts of life.
To live by tooth and nail.
Like a savage, an animal?
A human animal.
Precisely. War against your enemy.
So I am to live in pain and fear?
You do anyway.
In my security?
In the dread of losing that security.
The dread of desolation -- the more security, the more dread.
Am I then not to be secure?
Oh, yes, you are to be, by all means; but to live insecurely in that security
In dread, then.
No, in wisdom.
The wisdom of insecurity.
You're speaking in riddles.
Yes, in the riddle of human life.
Solve it for me.
And would its nswer be the ultimate security, for you?
It could also be the ultimate insecurity, depending upon the answer.
And now you yourself have come to the wisdom of insecurity, of which I speak.
How did I do that?
There are no answers, you see, despite all the answers.
A particular answer solves a particular question in the realm of the rational mind. The mind (or rationale) of Life itself proffers no such questions nor answers for us. And there lies the dread of our ultimate insecurity: that we may not be eternally conscious of ourselves.
That's unsettling enough to consider; but where does your wisdom of insecurity fit into this ?
My point is that since we are ultimately insecure as to our essential being, how could we possibly be or feel secure in our conscious self? We are not only essentially insecure at all times, but relatively insecure at all times as well by the vary obvious facts of reality themselves.
I don't feel insecure at all times.
No, you don't feel insecure at all times, but you are insecure at all times. It's just a matter of circumstances that make you feel it -- which are bountiful enough, in this life of flux and opposites
True enough. And so the wisdom of this insecurity is ?
That we are essentially insecure, and so are relatively insecure; and to live by this wisdom.
And what kind of life is that?
To live rightly in action and purpose according to your circumstances and character regardless of reward or no reward -- the universal message of the Gita, as it comes to me now.
Were you speaking with the Gita in mind?
No, the relationship of the wisdom of insecurity and the Gita's message just came to me as I was saying it.
Very...And just as convincing to you?
Yes... strangely, yes. Yet at the same time, insecurity frightens me very much.
It is supposed to. It is a polar negative in life.
The thought of losing what and who l love is excruciating.
And that is why the Zen masters advise that you free your mind from thought. Then that agony goes.
Is that what you suggest?
Only if you live in and for wisdom solely. Then that would be your purpose in life: to end suffering of the mind; because it all is in the mind: the pain and pleasure, the needs and wants.
But I want to live in the stream of life.
And its tempest.
Which I can't escape, of course.
And you never know when life will be one or the other.
Then, all the more must we live in that truth, that wisdom: that nothing is secure, even from moment to moment.
It's so obviously true when you think of it.
Yes, but we don't allow ourselves to think of it, because, as you pointed out, it pains too much.
But wisdom is supposed to bring tranquillity, equanimity, isn't it?
Like being in the eye of a storm?
Something like that, yes.
The eye of the storm is like the meaning of life. That meaning is not part of life just as the eye is not part of the storm -- that is where the calm is, the equanimity, the tranquillity.
And what is at the meaning of life?
Our insecurity in life -- a purity of which we know or can know nothing -- except perhaps that It is.
Sounds spiritual to me.
You make a distinction between the two words.
The term "Spiritual" is imbued with words and concepts about the ultimate meaning to everything; the term "mystic" signifies silence and contact.
Yes, somehow we do make contact with It at rare moments in our life, if only to sense or intuit, a oneness, a unity, an ultimate, to everything and everyone.
Meaning then is unity, the oneness of everything?
There is no answer to that question despite all the answers, as I said earlier. And I repeat that that is our insecurity.
Then there is no security in life whatsoever, then?
No, not in life but to life, yes.
You've lost me.
You understand now that there is no security in life.
Yes, that much is clear.
The security to life is our contact with the meaning to life; which cannot be confirmed except by that contact. And since we normally do not make contact with that Meaning, -- and even when we do, it gets lost in our memory -- we only experience that insecurity of either no contact or lost contact; and in that sense there certainly is no security in life, except the contact. And having made that contact, we then "know" in a transcendent understanding of "know."
So without that contact there is no security. What a terrible blight on humanity.
But we have that wisdom of insecurity to keep us afloat.
Keep us afloat! Is that all that life is about, "keeping afloat?" Survival?
How can I, or anyone, say whether that is all there is to life? We live by our dreams, our ideals -- our illusions, as many would say -- besides the raw material of survival. I'm sure these are psychological means of survival for us frail, vulnerable, naked human beings.
You make us out as pitiable, miserable creatures.
And aren't we? And wouldn't we be if it were not for the saving grace of love?
Love? ls that then our morsel of security ? The saving grace of love? For whom? For how few in this life of boundless self-love and malice? Besides, just ask anyone what love is, and they won't even know what you're talking about other than sex and self-interest. As for parental love, well, that's mostly biological, or blood, love that we share with the animal kingdom.
So, other than the rare exception, I don't know what you mean by the "saving grace" of love. You might as well say the saving grace of the survival instinct -- by which most of us get through life. And don't spring at m e the ecstasies of "love at first sight," and the beauty of "falling in love," and all those romantic phrases. that's fine' it happens all the time; there is no gainsaying it; yet, as we all know, our first love -- our esteemed self, and its ambitions and aspirations--come to the fore as soon as the glow, the itch, of "falling in" love subsides. and the residue trailing behind is the habitual security, domestic peace, between couples while they about their business of asserting their self upon others .
I think love is far overrated; and whoever said that love is all you need needed his head examined into the realities of human nature and relations .
That's quite a tirade against mankind's cherished ideal of love.
Yes, that's what love is, a romantic "ideal" to sing songs and write poetry about that has as little basis in reality than Utopia. and yes, it is a tirade because it irritates me to no end when people bring this ghost in the machine--love, and its hybrid, peace -- as the salvation for all of mankind's woes and cruelties. Is that why everyone is transfixed by the show of violence and any form of hostility betwene people as portrayed in film, television, theater, novels -- so-called art.
Are you then against love and peace?
No, it's not that I'm against them; I'm indifferent to them; because they're just as fleeting human sensations and feelings and attributes as their opposites: hate, violence, or strife in a word. there is love and there is strife in this life -- now the one, then the other, in constant flux of exchange. The ancient Greeks said it thousands of years ago. And little or nothing has changed since or before. Lions are still predators, and man is still an aggressor with interludes of "peace" and "love" -- or, as I would put it, offset and recuperation. Let's not delude ourselves. we are animals, human animals, I grant, but animals nonetheless whose first priority under normal circumstances is self-preservation.
I agree in good part with what you say. But what do you mean by self-preservation "under normal circum stances?"
The everyday business of living with and competing against others -- will against will, life against life: "I'm first, then you," "I win, you lose," "I'm superior, you inferior," "I live, you die."
That's clear enough. And what would you consider as unusual or abnormal circumstances?
I knew that question was coming. I'm not oblivious to the extraordinary circumstances of sacrificing one's life or self-interest for another, or for a cause, or for their honour, or for a moral or spiritual principle. I know there are people who will not sacrifice their principles or honour or character for any price.
So you agree that there is more -- something transcendent -- to a human's life than simply survival, whether economic or moral?
Yes, I concede to that.
Because I don't understand that part of our humanity that chooses to die than to live.
But do you have to "understand" it..! I mean, we don't understand why we live, why then would we understand, not only why we die, but why we would choose to die? Not only are life and death insolvable, incrutable, mysteries, but so are our deepest motivations, especially when they don't fall under emperical criteria. True?
Yes...But I say that hesitantly because I feel I'm being led into a labyrinth once again.
Anything that seem inscrutable seems to lead you into a labyrinth. Does that mean that there
should not be, or is not, that which is inscruable?
No, of course not. But I don't see the point in speaking about the unspeakable, or exploring the unexplorable. I believe, as Wittengstein put it, that which cannot be spoken, should be silent about.
But isn't that like saying since we can't see an atom, there then are no atoms, or most likely there are no atoms? Man first intuited -- don't ask me how or why -- that matter is made up of invisible atoms, and l000's of years later, proved it scientifically. And certainly the atom remains inscrutable, even though we have detected its traces and composition with scientific apparatus made up of the same ultimate components. We have in a sense, atoms looking upon atoms, upon themselves -- Now that is inscrutable; or more philosophically speaking, wondrous.
So the inscrutable, the invisible, intangible world can be explored not only scientifically, but philosophically, Poetically, intuitively..In which case, we have mind looking upon mind. Are there mind atoms as well as material atoms? Or are atoms in the ultimate scheme of things immaterial or material, or both? Who knows? Who can, or will be able to say? We might be able to say in a decade, or a century , or a millennium. Who would dare to say any longer in our times that what we know now about invisible, inscrutable matter is all we know or can know?
All right. I get your point, and admit to it. But what does all this have to do with our original question about the "saving grace of love," which I don't believe in in the long run. It might save temporally; but not in the lifelong sense,. too many factors bar the way.
Well, for now, let us leave out the phrase "saving grace," and explore a little the meaning of love in general terms. What does love mean to you?
"Attraction" is the word that comes to me.
Attraction of what, to what?
Why do your say "What"? I think in terms of humans when I think of love, not "what" How are you using the term?
In both human and nonhuman terms. Certainly attraction applies to more than just human attraction. What of the attraction between animals, between plants and the sun, between molecules and atoms and electrons, between the planets, and the stars; and I could go on forever. Do we use the terms differently in these different situations?
I was thinking of desire in relation to attraction; and desire is a human constituent.
Explain the relationship to me.
Well what I should say is "who we are attracted to is who we desire, or want, depending on the intensity of the attraction.
But we are attracted to objects as well as people, aren't we.
So, humans are attracted to other humans, and to objects. and would you agree that objects are attracted to other objects?
You mean like a magnet to metal? Yes, I see that.
And certainly animals are attracted to animals, and to objects, and to plants; and plants are attracted to plants?
Yes. These are all facts of nature. But let me ask you this. Are objects attracted, and so affected by, humans ? That thought just came to me.
We don't see any obvious evidence to such phenomena, at least on a macroscopic level of perceptive reality. Yet could we not say that such attraction could occur on a molecular, atomic level, as in the instance of static electricity. Our bodies attract electrons which effect the stability of their position al velocity; and so we receive a slight shock. And I'm sure physics has all kinds of examples of such phenomena.
So we see that animate and inanimate matter is permeated by the attraction of, let's call it, energy fields of physical and psychological interactions.
But then so do we have repulsion, which is just as much a part of the material world as attraction. It is the balance of the two -- the attraction of opposites -- that holds the world together, so to speak.
I don't know about you, but I tend to think that both attraction and repulsion are different aspects of the same reality.
Oh? That's an odd way of thinking.
No, not really , if you think about it. Everyone knows that the chemical constituents of water as liquid can be transformed into either a solid or a gas, depending upon the temperature and motion; or that light in one medium is manifested as particles, and in another medium, as waves. So we can ask: What is it that can be transformed into either liquid, solid or gas? What is it that can be transformed into either particles or waves? What is IT?
I don't think that is so mysterious. The so-called inscrutable "IT" in the first instance is a chemical compound; and the so-called "IT" in the second instance, is the physical properties of radiation or magnetism. There is no "inscrutable IT. Why is your sort always seeking inscrutable -- or let's call a spade a spade: spiritual -- in the unexplainable. Because something is ultimately unexplainable, you therefore ascribe a spiritual reality to it, instead of just admitting the limitation of our minds to penetrate such a reality. However, in your two instances, we can explain it simple by our common scientific knowledge -- which, I don't think you are too informed about.
Well, that may be true. I certainly lack scientific sophistication and training; yet I think my point is well taken.
And what point is that?
To make analogies basically, so that we come closer to the truth.
What analogies ?
Between our subject and the inscrutable, adaptable "IT."
That by being repelled in one direction, we are attracted in another direction. So, by being repelled from, we are attracted to -- and vice versa.
If you are repelled by something or someone, the pain is directed toward relief, dissolvement, into pleasure--which attracts you. Or vice a versa, if you are attracted to something or someone, the pleasure diverts the pain of hunger or unrequited desire, which repels us.
So, it is a continuous , never-ending flux of attraction and repulsion that we're immersed in. But again, what is this "IT" that is in continuous flux?
I was about to ask you the same question.
In human terms, I prefer to call it Love; and this Love goes through the continuous phases of attraction and repulsion -- the attraction being the positive-creative pole, while the repulsion is the negative-destructive pole. The balance, the eye, of the two is Love -- that which abides amidst the flux of attraction and repulsion.
"Abides" is a vague, poetic word.
More accurately, then, Love is that which holds, glues, everything together into a unified whole.
So, is Love unity?
I would say rather that unity is the manifestation of Love.
And what does love unify?
In the most concrete terms, it unifies the diversity of everything that is -- keeps it all together, so to speak; in its most abstract terms, it unifies the attraction-repulsion of energy and matter. Love then is not real, is nothing tangible.
Are you saying that what is not tangible is not real?
Yes, not real empirically, factually, perceptibly. From that perspective, then, neither is unity real, nor any concept, such as, friendship, valor, and the like.
But these latter concepts you mention are derivations of human actions.
Well, isn't unity derivable from material phenomenon. Look at my body. Isn't it a unity of all its parts? Yet where is that unity? Inherent to the body; that's where it is -- if you can say that unity is in fact any where.
Yes, I'm familiar with what you say regarding both kinds of love, which you I consider as human love as distinguished from universal love. but why did you say "so to speak"?
Because, we speak in the realm of language and concepts, and ideas, and images; yet beyond all these we know nothing, even if there is anything beyond. All is in the mind. Is the mind everything, then? We have no idea.
But we intuit it, make contact with it, as you said.
Yes, but in the mind, not beyond it. It is another, pure, consciousness, yes; yet, it happens in life, to us. We are still here in this human form, this human consciousness. We don't really know, in the literal sense of the word "know"; because we can only express our deepest, inward intuitions in images, whether in words, music, equations, pictures, and so forth. Beyond these images is silence, the unknown. Can you face that?
What a 'question!
But can you?
I have no choice
Yes, you do. You can set up idols in your mind.
Yes, the Jesus's, Buddhas. Mohammeds, Moses, the Krishnas of history; or your country , or your family, or your work, or your moral principles, and so on. These are the idols we encrust in our minds to protect us from the unknown.
But don't these idols have value if they work, as you stated earlier.
Of course they do. They are of inestimable value in getting us through life. But "getting through" life is a poor second compared to understanding life, accepting, and dealing with, it as it is, and even striving to improve upon it where possible. Living to love leads us to this understanding, and crowns us with the wisdom that in turn leads us to the purity of World Love in its eternality. This is our security; all else is insecurity.
Well, I think this love, of which you speak, is at best merely a morsel of the security we need in this life?
Well put -"morsel" of security. In a way, yes; and in a way, no. Yes, even love pales in the end in many cases; and it surely does not seem to be "all you need." Yet, there is a love beyond the pale of human fallibility, human frailty, that binds one to another, and one to all. And this latter meaning of love is no morsel of security, but rather a rock of security. As a matter of fact, it is that invisible bond that spiritualizes, unifies, the world, so to speak.
Aren't they valid idols, though -- assume you mean illusions by the word "idols " -- of love and security in this wretched life ?
No, not logically, nor psychologically, valid; since, as you know you can arrive at a false conclusion from true premises -- which would be something like: Illusions enhance life -- true. Illusions offer security in life -- true. Therefore the content of the illusions are real -- false.
But we don't know that the conclusion is false, according to your analysis.
That's right. But in logic if a statement could be either true or false, it is considered false.
That may be in logic, but not in fact.