3.5 Basics of the Self
"The greatest hazard of all, losing one's self, can occur very quietly in the
world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any
other lossan arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc.is sure to be noticed."
......Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
You can never come to your self by building a meditation hut on top of Mount Everest;
you will only be visited by your own ghosts and that is not individuation: you are all
alone with yourself and the self doesn’t exist. ~Carl Jung,
"In particular, we will be looking at the big existential question
: facing death"........TTC M. Sugrue
After a study of the key processes in the previous two articles, and their
application, limitations, uses and abuses, this article goes into the
substrate, the base operations of the mind, the key to the control centers,
the emotions, the drivers. The process tools of reason and intuition can
only be as good as the drivers and the forces that direct and control
the processes. This article goes into the basics of internal controls and
"There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth,
yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain
must be added the experience of the soul".......Arnold Bennett
In the article "physical.htm" a basic division has been made between physical and
non-physical aspects of reality. In that the self is considered as having a body,
brain and mind as physical aspects of the self and also an unknown non-physical
aspect that cannot be definitely conceptualized. Without further consideration for
the body and brain, the focus in this article is on the Mind, that is further divided
into conscious and sub-conscious operations of the nervous system, and the
non-physical component which is termed here as the supra-conscious.
The article conscious.htm covers this in detail.
3.5.1 THE SURVIVAL AUTOMATON STRUCTURE
. " But the basic investigation of self or of other selves is not easy or fast.
Our built-in prejudices, biases, repressions and denials fight against
understanding. Our Unconscious automatically controls our behavior.
Eventually we may be able to progress farther"......John C lilly
The mind in its simplest understanding can said to be the control and
communication system of a being, that begins operating at the moment of birth
by interacting with the outside world through the sensory systems and the
primary control mechanism that is inbuilt for the survival of the being. This
control mechanism is derived from the reward and punishment systems of the
brain where the pain and pleasure centers are located. In its bare and basic
operation, the mind tends to seek a state of maximum pleasure and minimum
On this bare and basic control mechanism is laid the foundation and the
establishment of a structure and operating hierarchy for the functional
purpose of survival and stability of operation.
The major inbuilt goal of this structure is to build and maintain a defensive
mechanism that reaches a level of sophistication whereby it defends the
dominating, highest valued or priority belief that seemingly becomes
representative of the self, by making all the other operations and beliefs
subservient under its control.
"If we can free ourselves from the effects on our thinking machine of storage
of material from the external world, if we can free ourselves up from the
effects of storage of metaprograms which direct our thinking, programs
devised by others and fed to us during our learning years, we may be able to
see the outline and the essential variables which are genically determined.
This is an immensely difficult area for research. It will require the services
of many talented individuals considering their own thinking processes,
combined with a detailed knowledge of their genic structure and their
genic predecessors"........John C Lilly
Most of the elements of this structure ( of concepts and beliefs) are acquired from
outside, i.e., from family, society and culture, and consequently the control threads
of this structure itself then becomes mostly a function of socially acquired beliefs,
although at the top of this hierarchy of control priority is invariably the operating
commands of self - preservation and one's own physical survival, and whose
operation becomes mostly hidden and buried deeply in the sub-conscious. Sadly,
this fact is not acknowledged by most people especially even psychologists,
presumably because most people are not self-analytical, and also because a
program ( or pattern of operation ) that operates constantly itself becomes
unobservable and undetectable by the conscious ( for example a steady sound
becomes unnoticeable after some time even as less as a few minutes; and the
survival programs have been operational right from birth, hence their operations
are by and large unnoticeable unless one goes into rigorous self-analysis and
experimentation in order to flush it into the open or to expose its operation
to the conscious ).
"Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions
of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he
will always remain a slave.......G. I. Gurdjieff
Most of the social behavior also gets connected with this program and this
connection also lays the foundation for the build up of social value structures.
So long as this self-preservation control program occupies the
topmost position in the control hierarchy, all other behaviors,
programs, metaprograms are subservient to this king of all
But to bring down this king of all programs from its high and
mighty position to its proper place is no easy task and is the
most formidable struggle - the mother of all battles that takes
place within oneself.
The trick then is to bring the root of this program into the
conscious where its priority is made applicable only in the
condition where an actual threat to survival takes place.
" During the first period of a man's life, the greatest danger is : not
to take the risk"....Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
What makes this so difficult to isolate, observe and bring under
conscious control, this core operating program is the fact that it
camouflages itself, by design, in a very sophisticated manner into
the subconscious and has its tentacles embedded into all thought,
experiences and actions. Most of the time it sets up other dominant
operating beliefs to camouflage its operation, even completely
replaces the primary survival programs. For example, in most
religions the belief in a deity or god or whatever becomes the
most dominating operating belief, that at times can become so
overpowering that a person even becomes willing to commit murder
or even die for just an perceived insult to the believed deity or god.
Many wars are fought on the basis of the difference in perceiving
or interpreting the will of god, not for the highest good or for justice.
Eventually this changes form and these days the nationalistic and
so called patriotic form is more predominant, although the religious
form has not been replaced totally. And then there is also the science
or technology variety - though this doesn't lead to violence directly,
its indirect effects are deadlier, ex : cold war, global dominance etc.
"Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity,
somehow manage to go on believing in their religion, often with such
fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow
a different one." .....Richard Dawkins
One can compare the structure of the mind with a pyramid whose topmost point
represents this self - preservation program, ( being the root program ) whose
tentacles extend to every corner and base of the pyramid, and which controls
and makes subservient to it all other programs and beliefs, without appearing to
do so consciously. And this is the program that remains operational till death
since its very purpose is the physical survivability of the biological organism.
Its domain covers anything related to the very fears and desires that
drive oneself, and so there is no escaping the reality of its
"If we don't know life, how can we know death ?"........Confucius
"If you can't feel your death, how can you feel life fully, and
know what life means ?".......Updated 2003
"As men, we are all equal in the presence of death."
The only force that can overcome its power is its precise opposite -
the force of one's own death, but that force is neither an attribute of
the sub-conscious, nor it is really an attribute of the conscious, ( an
attribute of the supra-conscious ?) but can, and has to be developed
to be the operating attribute of the conscious to a sufficient extent
by its simulation under conditions that it makes
its presence felt.
"Deep down, no one really believes they have a right to live.
But this death sentence generally stays tucked away, hidden
beneath the difficulty of living. If that difficulty is removed from
time to time, death is suddenly there, unintelligibly.
"Man cannot live without some knowledge of the purpose of life.
If he can find no purpose in life he creates one in the inevitability
of death".....Chester Himes
"No animal knows that it will suffer and die. Only we know this -
both the fact of death and the prior knowledge of it. Yet we are
also not yet dead, and we can choose how to live in light of death.
Gilgamesh's journeys are an allegory for every human's journey
through life. There comes a moment when we know that death is
our future and then we must decide what to do with that knowledge.
It is not a knowledge that is communicated in a sentence like -
'all humans are mortal'. That's a sentence speak-able by a anybody
but very few people actually know what it means. Very few people
come to gain and struggle with that knowledge in a real way."
.......TTC C. Mathews
But it must be understood that without some presence of this force
in the conscious operations, the hold of the subconscious cannot be
brought under conscious control, and thus cannot be transcended,
and so real power remains elusive. Shamans of tribal cultures knew
this as a fact : that death is inextricably linked with power or Spirit :
their relationship was close, sensitive and intricate.
Very few cultures could retain this basic understanding and only the
Native American culture could develop this understanding so as to be
incorporated in the institution of war. Their system of warfare was
the inter-social institution by which individual warriors sought the
presence, the first hand experience of death. In this way they were
successful in simulating the death force, a socially sanctioned way
for the individual to seek the death force and thereby to attain
"The culture that really scares me is the one in which death has no
significance for our projects. That's the culture in which the Self is
under siege. With Heidegger we choose a project in full awareness
that 'being' is always 'being' towards death...in choosing a project
that will make our life complete - a connected story - a story worth
.......Rick Roderick TTC Self Under Siege
Without a social system that incorporates this most important mode
of death, for an individual on his own to meaningfully simulate the
death force is highly improbable and very difficult ; the risks too
high; the failure and mortality is very high; the motivation too weak.
The Native American mode of warfare should never be confused with
the wars of nations and civilizations. The motivations, the objectives,
are totally different as is the result.
Creative power is individual, never social, cultural and never ever
At the same time one cannot discard or drown this self-preservation program
permanently for that actually means death, but to bring it to a stable conscious
state whereby control can be transferred to it or relinquished from it at the
command or control of one's Will.
So it must be clearly understood that the fluidity of this prima
program is a very vital requirement for the right kind of
self-development and this fluidity of the prima control program
can only be attained by neutralizing its dominating force by its
opposite - the force of one's own death.
Life and death have an intimate relationship in terms of meaning
and purpose of one's existence. The life force ( or that which gives
and sustains life ) or Spirit is very much tied to the death force in-
-so-far as the movement of life towards its goal or purpose is con-
cerned. Since the life force itself does not and by nature cannot
force action, for it is the Will that forces action, and only the Will
that has been tempered by death can force creative action or
action complimentary to the life force.
Thus mortality, or death forces the action that carries life forward.
Immortality has no moving power - the timeless cannot itself move
anything in time.
Death is the mover and shaker and then the ultimate purger or
cleanser when life has degenerated and the life force has
been exhausted: the symptoms of which are an alternation
between pleasure and boredom.
"The feeling of Sunday is the same everywhere, heavy, melancholy,
standing still. Like when they say, "As it was in the beginning, is
now, and ever shall be, world without end"....Jean Rhys
"Modernist human beings would be worrying about death - that is,
death would reverberate in their being, and because there wont be
a field of meaning to answer it, that is, the problems ( questions ) of
life and death, we would get the problem of nihilism. But when you
cross a threshold point, you get a kind of response like a giddy-silly
ecstasy of the very inability to have a self - giving rise to a generation
of quasi cyborgs that would be raised in this post-modern culture."
…..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Nietzsche and the Post-Modern Condition)
"The other existential mode in which Heidegger talks about how we are prompted
into authenticity goes by the dramatic name ‘being unto death’. Now there is of
course a sense in which we know that we are all going to die. But for most of us
it’s an abstraction. We know that all men are mortal – that I am mortal. But it
doesn’t really sink in. But when you face death, something very interesting
happens – when you face death, according to many ancient legends, what you
find is that your whole life flashes in front of your eyes – you suddenly see your
life as a whole – shaken free from all your roles and functions in society, to pay
attention to just you. You are special to yourself. If you had never existed, you
would miss you – and that’s what forces you to see: what is your life as a whole.
That is what it means to be authentic – to use this to make a resolution to be your
own person."....R. Solomon (TTC)
3.5.2 The Death Force or
the Force of One's Own Death.
"I shall only look absurd in my own eyes if I cling to life, when
life has nothing more to offer me.".....Socrates
"Death destroys a man, the idea of Death saves him." ........E. M. Forster
"Bladerunner is a post-apocalyptic movie - bored with the apocalypse.
There's not gonna be a nuclear war because the world's not that
interesting. The world's not interesting enough for us to enjoy the sting
of real death. Instead we'll have this decline in small steps where
the distinction between our lives and the lives of machines become
blurred as it is becoming. The other cultural artifacts about the near
future - the apocalypse movies are really ways to dodge the sticky
and ugly task of presenting a plausible near future - the easiest way
to do this is to have a big apocalypse and start all over again so that
you don't have to face the nasty questions about what's really going
to happen if things just grind on. To be in a situation where we are
unable to die in the cycle of despair that Kierkegaard talks about -
this cycle of daily boring existence without any real projects beyond
the limited mundane ones. Under such conditions moments may arise
in which when we really face ourselves, the hope would be to find a
way to die. Not suicide - that would also not solve it - because what
has structured you is this despair - it is you. It is not a psychological
problem that a therapist can rid of, but a structural condition of the
The Blade Runner movie one such near future scenario where you,
like every other commodity is recycled ( or consumed and deposed
mechanically ) and this is the greater danger - not to die a death
of despair - but to live a life that is not human.
A world in which simulated images of the real are just as real or
sometimes more real than real. It is a general social malady - the
reaction of people struggling to be sane in insane conditions -
people struggling to be human in in-human conditions.
Probably the greatest danger to be faced is to what is left of the
human at all under modern conditions - what is left to talk about
in this dimension -- where how much people value to be an image
rather than a person.
The post modern culture is based upon spectacles and images
that have become more real than the real thing - IT ( the product
and finally its image or icon or diva) becomes everything - almost
like the Hindu religion.
Human values have dried up because of the very ability to market
them, by the ability to turn them into goods for sale - and worse
than that into images and into cultural products. Beyond a
certain point the question is whether we can be called people
anymore - or just 'cleverly constructed automatons'.
The post-modern insight is - what difference does it make ?
That's what the Reagan handlers understood - it doesn't
make any difference ( because ) - they're buying it ! "
……..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Philosophy and Human Values )
I am saying here " the force of one's own death " simply because death is
particularly a personal affair, and outside oneself it has little meaning. Here
one has to assume not only that one is very much mortal but also that this
mortality is a fragile and imminent probability. So the death force has to be
simulated in order to be effective with exposure only to the necessary and
required risks. To what extent, has to be personally determined.
As such " the death force " has meaning outside of oneself only as that which
ends the world or life in the world in which a living being exists.
"If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.".......Geena Davis
How can the "death force" be developed or simulated ? The only real way is
to turn every act into a life and death situation, which sounds ridiculous, but
is the most serious affair, fraught with risks, at times even unforeseen or
But then there is no real power without risk.
"In the last analysis it is our conception of death which decides our
answers to all the questions that life puts to us.".....Dag Hammarskjold
The more we try to secure our survivability, the lesser the chance
of personal growth in terms of obtaining real power. And without
real power that determines the degree of one's control over
oneself, there is little difference between the existence of a
machine and a human.
"Once you accept your own death all of a sudden you are free to live.
You no longer care about your reputation...you no longer care except
so far as your life can be used tactically -- to promote a cause
you believe in"......Saul Alinsky
This does not mean that one turns reckless or take needless risks. All risks
must be calculated or balanced with respect to the potential dangers versus
benefits in terms of testing and refining one's structural capabilities by
exposing them only to essential risks.
"If you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your
deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin"
Unless the critical operating programs and beliefs are put to test by exposing
them to a life and death situation, these cannot be transcended and therefore
remain to be the critical and limiting determinants of our behavior. To put this
differently, it can be said that it is the force of one's own death that overcomes
the strength of the operating survival force to neutralize the " moral integrity
depleting" and paralyzing nature of its underlying mechanism, without which
the full potential of our supra-conscious cannot be realized and integrated by
" The difference between a man who faces death for the sake of an
idea, and an imitator who goes in search of martyrdom is that the
former expresses his idea fully in death, while the latter really
enjoys the bitterness of failure"...........Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
"Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which
make death a fulfillment"........Dag Hammarskjöld
All this then brings us to the most crucial element of the self : Will.
Will is the force that directs the self towards its goal, and is a property of
the supra-conscious and / or is a conscious derivative of one's realized uniqueness.
Will is dealt separately in article 2.7.
" They say my verse is sad: no wonder; Its narrow measure spans
Tears of eternity, and sorrow, Not mine, but man's. " ......... Housman
The voice of human nature is nothing but one prolonged cry. (Alexandre Dumas)
"In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate
confidant. My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known
-- no wonder, then, that I return the love."
Once the last trace of emotion has been eradicated, nothing remains of
thought but absolute tautology. Theodor Adorno
Emotions are the powerhouse, the driving parameters that can make or break
one's Will and thus one's whole self. It becomes imperative that the Will is able
to drive the emotions rather than what happens usually, i.e., the emotions become
the drivers of the will. This is no easy task. It takes years, even a lifetime to have
conscious, willful control over one's emotions. And then again, at times emotions
are themselves indicative of our latent Will.
To be aware and conscious of all emotions and their effect upon one's mind and
subsequent behavior, is crucial for self development. It is essential to keep note
of the events, conditions, situations, causes, etc that trigger off emotions,
Only successful emotional self-analysis can lead to having control over one's
emotions, and thus the operation of the sub-conscious.
"Reason and emotion are not antagonists. What seems like a struggle
between two opposing ideas or values, one of which, automatic and
unconscious, manifests itself in the form of a feeling"........N. Branden
It is essential to realize that the so-called negative emotions can be just as
useful ( rather more so for self-analysis) than the so-called positive emotions.
Thus negative emotions are more potent than positive one's. The analogy of
the mathematical negative - positive seems to be valid here : the negative
element contains the positive in it through double negation ( the negative of
a negative yields a positive ), whereas the positive contains only the positive
in its multiplication. The lesson : the extreme of a negative emotion often
leads to a stupendous creative breakthrough, but the extreme of a positive
emotion rarely results in a creative breakthrough, at best, a state of bliss.
Cultures or societies that emphasize only the positive emotions and demean
negative emotions by denying their place and value, lose their creativity.
"Anger and humor are like the left and right arm. They complement
each other. Anger empowers the poor to declare their uncompromising
opposition to oppression, and humor prevents them from being
consumed by their fury."......James Cone
"His rage motivated him, and his miracle was to take all that was
bad in his life and to transform him into something good."
.......Tom Butler Bowden on Malcolm X
"Money is human happiness in theory. Anyone who is not capable
of happiness longs for money."......Schopenhauer
It is in the deliberate withholding and defiance of the positive emotions
that gives them their potency.
It is the basic emotions that generate the survival automation. That is the
function of the basic emotions. Beyond basic physical survival, basic emotions
become a trap. ( who doesn't want to avoid painful situations and to seek and
sustain pleasurable ones ? )
The really successful test of having overcome the trap is when pleasure or pain
is not deliberately sought, (only when necessary ) and when pain is not avoided
or suppressed or feared. To survive however one cannot attain a perfect control
over emotions, nor is perfect control really required. However to be aware of
and explored one's limitations here may for most purposes be sufficient.
"Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have
ever studied, writing columns for newspapers"......Jimmy Breslin
"All sensitive people agree that there is a peculiar emotion provoked
by works of art".....Clive Bell
3.5.4 GOING TO THE EDGE ( and not over it )
"Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to
keep his balance"......Pope John Paul II
"Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the
word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
It is far better take things as they come along with patience and
Certain situations may take one to the extreme of some emotions, and it is
also useful to go to the extremes of all emotions providing one does not
get stuck on one end. A balancing act is usually called for. For example,
a extreme state of sadness can result from one's insight into the
human condition. This can only be balanced by an insight into the
funny side of our condition.
To see and feel only one side is to be trapped in it.
" The comical is always the mask of maturity - yet it is vital that some new
emotion should be ready to sprout beneath it and the sheer force of
comedy should not smother this growing pathos - rather it should serve
to indicate that a new pathos is beginning"......Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
Again a state of bliss is worth experiencing, but hardly worth staying there
permanently if one wants to accomplish anything creative. Hardly anybody
ever created anything in a state of bliss. This is a common trap that meditators
fall into and never come out of. At the other end are neurotics who live in
constant tensions and conflicts, and some are creative, but many only harm
themselves as well as others.
A similar relation is there between passion and obsession. Obsessions creep up
on us without being acknowledged because they are mistaken to be noble passions.
The vicious cycle is difficult to break, unless the person is self-analytical about the
core values that drive oneself - from where they are sourced - from society and
culture or from within oneself with an objective to learn and know.
"Socrates is the comic hero of a divine comedy - instead of pointing
towards human follies his humor is to point beyond these, towards
Kierkegaard was an admirer of Socrates, and once made an interesting
observation on Socrates : he said that all melancholic men had the
best sense of humor and that the funniest men were also melancholic,
and that one serves as a mask for the other. And I strongly suspect that
that is the case with Socrates, that he was a highly melancholic individual.
I can't help but believe that behind this persistent good humor, persistent
drive towards improving himself and improving others there is a dark side
here - a persistent streak of melancholy.
Kierkegaard himself was quite ironic, had a wonderful sense of humor,
but was also a decisively melancholic individual. Kierkegaard, who
knows himself, and knows irony, perhaps senses a kindred spirit here."
.......TTC M. Sugrue
188.8.131.52 DELIBERATE NEUROSIS
"Above all, we must abolish hope in the heart of man. A calm despair,
without angry convulsions, without reproaches to Heaven, is the
essence of wisdom"......Alfred Victor Vigny
To defy a state of bliss by going consciously and deliberately into
a state of neurosis, that arises out of a deliberate defiance of an
oppressive authority that derives its power from decadent social,
cultural or religious norms is the highest creative state.
This however does not imply a disregard for one's own life and the life of others.
To become reckless or have no regard for one's own life may be called for only
if the exceptional situation demands such a state. At the other extreme,
meaningless, purposeless survival without any growth is a no-no for
Emotions are therefore indispensable for a meaningful, constructive and
creative existence and the key is to develop the right balance of opposing
184.108.40.206 EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE or INTELLIGENT EMOTIONS
Ultimately emotions are only as useful as they are utilized by our
intelligence for constructive or creative output otherwise emotions
only become potholes of useless indulgence.
"Passion makes the best observations and the sorriest
Intelligence without emotions is only machine like behavior, however
in every human being, deep seated default emotions are still
operational, even if denied by the conscious intelligence.
3.5.5 THE TABULATED EMOTIONS and COUNTER EMOTIONS
A comparison of paired emotional states is useful for developing a balanced
emotional state :
NEGATIVE (?) EMOTIONS or STATES
POSITIVE (?) EMOTIONS or STATES
"Neurosis is the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.'....Jung
Emotions are the forceful directors of our stream of consciousness, always present,
always indicating, always affecting our moods , thoughts, attitudes, actions and
expressions - in short, all that we value or hold as value, is to a great extent a
function of our emotions. To transcend one's values beyond base emotions is
to attain freedom from the mundane.
3.5.6 HIGHER EMOTIONS
"The scribbling modern philosophy holds passion in contempt ; and yet passion
is the culmination of existence for an existing individual - and we are all of us
existing individuals."...........Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
"For Kierkegaard to 'really exist' is to be passionate. In particular it is
to passionately commit oneself to a way of life. He talks about passionate
inwardness - not necessarily passions fully expressed or exploded on the
stage, but passions one might feel but not show. The truly passionate person
is not the one who is dramatically visible, but one who is inwardly contained,
and defined by his passions."..........R. Solomon TTC
220.127.116.11 The Antennas
It is difficult to classify emotions in a level hierarchy, however
there is no doubt a qualitative difference in simple neurological
pain and a state of anguish, as an example.
Therefore higher emotions are indicators of the deeper Self and
its central force - Will.
Higher emotions are the antenna of the consciousness.
Especially those intense emotions that cannot be traced
to physical cause-effect relations. Those are the signals of the
Spirit, and to suppress them, however disturbing they may be,
is to lose out on something of great significance for oneself.
And it is not often that this occurs.
To successfully interpret these, is to gain an insight into
one's own nature and to develop the Will.
18.104.22.168 The Traps
Higher emotions can also be as trapping as the simplest
one's. For example, if faith is considered as a higher order
emotion, it can also become a formidable trap if it is based
upon or sourced from false expectations.
"Memes for blind faith have their own ruthless ways of propagating
themselves. This is true of patriotic and political as well as
religious blind faith."....Richard Dawkins
Most religions fail to provide an effective direction to its
subject societies because they only arouse and generate
false expectations and false hopes in their believers, with
no counter checks and corresponding responsibilities.
This leads to bad faith and bundles of lies that keep
piling up in a heap.
"Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power."
22.214.171.124 The Check and the Balance
Again higher emotions also need to be counter checked or
balanced by counter emotions to remove deceptiveness or
falsehoods from creeping in.
(For example, can there be hope without deception unless
one also has gone to the very depths of hopelessness ?)
Then again a lot depends on how our intelligence and
emotions harmonize each other. Their operations must
compliment and drive each other, and not be
disconnected from each other.
"Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it
or you don't, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you"
"If this hope goes ( in the context of this work - of moral improvement ),
everything goes with it. It's a desperate form of argument. But these are
desperate times. If the hope goes to reconstruct our lives in that way -
everything goes with it. Everything. And not in the neat fun way like the
apocalypse, but everything human will go too. If there is no other reason to
hope that things will change, then hope after all was given in the first place
for those who were hopeless, hope was given for the sake of the hopeless,
not for people who are comfortable. Philosophy doesn't provide comfort to
the comfortable. It shouldn't. It doesn't even provide comfort to those
who are afflicted, if you have found out that you are afflicted. It is, as I have
warned you, disconsolate in principle. Hegel has said that dialectic does
not run from death and devastation, but it carries with it for a while, looks
at it in the face.
……..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Philosophy and Human Values)
126.96.36.199 THE DEATH EMOTION
"Because of its tremendous solemnity death is the light in which great
passions, both good and bad, become transparent, no longer
limited by outward appearances."
"When one fears that somehow he will not be able to maintain an understanding
grasp of something complex and extensive, he tries to find or to make for himself
a brief summary of the whole--for the sake of a comprehensive view. Thus death is
the briefest summary of life or life reduced to its briefest form. Therefore to those
who in truth meditate on human life it has always been very important again and
again to test with this brief summary what they have understood about life.
For no thinker has power over life as does death, this mighty thinker who is
able not only to think through every illusion but can think it analytically and as a
whole, think it down to the bottom.......Soren Kierkegaard
"I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty, or give me death."..........Patrick Henry
" The state to which death restores us is our original state - that is
to say the one peculiar to our true nature, whose essential force
manifests itself by producing and maintaining the life that we lose
in death. This is the state of the 'thing in itself' as distinct from the
phenomenon. In this original state cerebral knowledge which deals
only in phenomena is thus superfluous - so it disappears.
It's disappearance for us is identical to the disappearance of the
phenomenal world which is its medium and which disappearance
leaves it redundant. Even if while we were in this original state we
were offered this animal consciousness we would refuse it just as
a cured cripple refuses crutches. Thus whoever begrudges the
impending loss of his cerebral consciousness which is merely a
phenomenon - and can only be used in the phenomenal realm is
like the converted Greenlander who refused the idea of heaven
because there were no seals in it.
All this means is that life can be regarded as a dream and death
as awakening from it - in which case the individual personality
belongs to the dreaming rather than the waking state.
Subsequently, death appears to the individual personality as
annihilation. On the other hand if we look upon life as a dream
then death no longer becomes a transition to something strange
or new but a return to the original state where life would seem
as a brief episode.".......Schopenhauer
Death is not earnest in the same way the eternal is. To the earnestness
of death belongs precisely that remarkable capacity for awakening, that
resonance of a profound mockery which, detached from the thought of the
eternal, is an empty and often brash jest, but together with the thought of
the eternal is just what it should be, utterly different from the insipid
solemness which least of all captures and holds a thought with
tension like that of death......Kierkegaard
The highest and the most powerful emotion is the emotion of the
sense of one's death : an indescribable emotion that captures the
whole and totality of the being, a resultant and fusion of all
possible emotions in their extremes. It is this intense emotional
state that leads to a complete surrender to one's death and
thereby to a reflection of the totality of one's self.
Death is the mirror that reflects the totality of a being.
[There is always the concern that making ends meet, security of life etc are
needed first of all. There is a catch 22 there too. The catch is that when we
are well fed and secure, we have a tendency to then be distracted by
entertainment and generally towards indulgence and pleasure seeking,
social status etc. What I have called "The Lord of Distraction". For most of
mankind, it is only when we are faced with death and destruction that some
of us start asking real questions about what life was all about. And even
very few are touched by the Spirit when faced with death and destruction.
When the 'conquest of paradise' took place, no one except the natives
saw that as a 'rape of paradise', and that subsequently there will be hell
to pay for it - for those who realize this now, my sympathies to them as a
fellow human being.
The universe will destroy us sooner or later, but it will teach us something
in return - but only to those who want to learn.]
Jan 2016: Death Terrifies Me - Huff Post Comments
Since life and death (and the forces involved in both) are essential counterparts
of each other, contemplation and questions on death are also intimately tied to
contemplation and questions of life. It follows therefore that any answers that
one arrives at in life, and the actions that are based on those, are reflected in
death and even transcending death. It also means that any genuine quests or
questions left unanswered in life, are then answered in death, for death is the
mirror that reflects the totality of a being's life. It also means that the terror of
death if properly channelized becomes the most profound wonder about life.
"The art of the warrior is to balance the terror of being a man/woman with
the wonder of being a man/woman." Don Juan
Life (in Philosophy) was the arena wherein the right way to live (the goal of
Philosophy) was itself a preparation for death - that is, a kind of death that
is the final opportunity to express one's life completely.
"Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves
in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing
themselves for dying and death." Socrates
" There's not the least possibility that anyone will actually die from despair.
It's not that kind of death. that kind of death would be wished for in a dialectic
like that of Kierkegaard. Real despair of his kind is the torment of despair
is precisely this inability to die. This is not an argument for suicide - its worse
than that because suicide won't help either. "Thus to be sick unto death is to
be unable to die - and yet not as if there were hope for life, but when we learn to
know that there is even greater danger, we hope for death - when the danger is
so great that death becomes the hope - then despair is the hopeless-ness of not
even being able to die."( quote from Soren Kierkegaard 'Sickness unto Death') "
……..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Philosophy and Human Values)
"The world breaks us all. After-words some are stronger at the
broken places ".................Hemingway.
NEXT PAGE No 16 : Art of Self Exploration
epistemology, philosophy, metaphysics,
religion, belief, system, social, cultural, paradigm, knowledge,
ontology, power, moral, fundamental, force, Will, Spirit, Intent, knowing, Heart, Mind, reason, intuition,
autonomous, unique, being, existence, space, time, meaning, purpose
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