(This is a rehash of a comment I made in my lame lame lame rant. Wally felt it was post worthy.)
I think it’s a given at this point in time to believe that everyone has their own unique point of view in this world, and that they are going to try their hardest to align your perception with theirs, as that seems to be a trait that humanity shares in common. If everyone has a unique perception then that must mean that we all have relative perceptions to each other. The problem with being introduced to all of these relative perceptions is that there is never any Truth, it’s all variations of the Truth. Does that make our goals in life to piece together as many shards of true perception to complete oneself? Or is that a misnomer, oneself. One – the great divide between Eastern and Western Philosophy. Bhuddism teaches us that we are all one, that there is no self, that the Universe is an interconnected complete network. Christianity and Islam tell us that we are individuals who will burn in hell or bum around in heaven. There’s still the element of continuing consciousness, eternal perception.
I think we are all individuals who exist within a complete network. Our pattern is unique to our self, but our value choices affect other patterns. Every decision we make opens up a new path and closes off another. The key to happiness is choosing the path which is of highest Quality to yourself and to the other patterns around you. Remember now that every action you take affects the paths and opportunities of the people you surround yourself with.
I think Karma is a manifestation of this philosophy. Karma tells us that making value choices of highest Quality to you and the patterns around you will result in opportunities and paths opening up that are enjoyable and positive paths to take. I think this is a good Second Rule, choose the path of highest Quality. How then do you determine Quality?
Quality is the subject of Robert M. Pirsig most famous book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. He talks in great detail about the nature of Quality and how it’s such a unique value choice. This is the subject of his second book, Lila : An Inquiry Into Mortals. At the root of Morals lie value choices. Morals are just convergent memes, sets of value choices that groups of individuals have commonality with. Morals are basically an abstract entity created out of complex interactions of value choices between people in our interconnected society. In a sense, I believe we create our own Gods. Although this manifestation may not necessarily have ‘Godlike’ powers, it is powerful because as a representation of the strongest belief it can sway those that allow others to make decisions for them. This is incredibly powerful in our democratic system. When manifestations of that power only choose value paths which result in immediate satisfaction then we forsake our future generations whos well being depends on the choices we make today. Is it always better to burn up rather than to fade away? I don’t think so.
You see, existence as we have know it is a treat. It’s a marvel of perceptive sensations that we can explore and appreciate. There are so many aspects of life we can enjoy if we allow ourselfs time for a little self-indulgence. The problems occur when there’s too much self-indulgence. It is a balance, but along with indulgence there must be sacrifice, otherwise indulgence will become dominant and eventually corrupt into greed, like it does today. That seems to be a major theme in the Universe, balance. Ying and Yang, another aspect of Eastern Philsophy that resonates very deeply within me.
I believe that we all have our own paths to follow, but the choices we make will come back and either hinder or help us. However the problem is being able to make the right choice. How do you determine Quality? Are there criteria to follow, logical math sheets to add up and evaluate? I think that this is an internal thing, that that voice that tells you you shouldn’t do something is probably right. Sometimes it benefits us to trust our gut while keeping in mind the goals you want to achieve. In the end value choices are a very personal thing, and part of what makes society so incredible. We have such a dynamic network of complexity that we are capable of great, wonderful things. We just have to believe in ourselves and the people around us. Then we will know what to.
I apologize for the amazon links, I’d eventually like to be able to write for a living which seems to require money, unfortunately. Also, I really think everybody should read these books. I found a large shard of true perception in his writing, and I think others can as well. The Zen and the art book is quite intimidating but his second one, Lila, is more easily digested, and I believe more influential. The problem is that the concepts of the first one are critical to understanding the ideas in Lila. Quality is the prime example, and it’s something that’s hard to summarize. How do you define quality? There is no definition for quality because it’s all relative to the eye of the beholder, to the perception of the individual. This is also why there is such an onus on the individual to make the right value choice as all of our actions effect change in others around us, which in turn effect change in the ones around them. Karma waves ripple across the network, butterflies flap their wings and torandos demolish houses.
Or is it all just chance? Do peoples houses get flattened because they made poor choices? See here’s where it breaks down. Does the possibility for a shitty, terrible life exist even if all the right choices are made? I guess it does, and that’s a part of life too. Shitty things happen to good people, and it shouldn’t, but it does. I believe if you treat it as a test of your moral fortitude then perhaps you will be rewarded by emerging in a more favourable environment the next time. Is that wishful thinking? I don’t know, but it does seem to balance out. If the universe is about balance then that probably means my next life is going to be a real unpleasant one (assuming, of course, that I’ll have another one, and that reincarnation isn’t a crock of shit).
I want to take the time again to tell all you guys how much I appreciate these conversations we’ve been having over the last couple of months. I really think we’re a shining example of how an online community can function well. I appreciate all of your perceptions. 😉