Monday, April 26, 2010

Notes on Meaning (part five)

The human mind is fundamentally incapable of unthinkingly living in the moment because of its capacity for temporal and abstract awareness, and because of its nature of inward dialogue.

If I can talk to myself about what I am doing, I am not immersed in it. To be able to laugh at oneself is a sign of intellectual progress.

Living in the moment is equivalent to shutting off large portions of one's brain. An infant lives in the moment, a drunkard lives in the moment, a man who has numbed his brain through meditation lives in the moment, a man who is supremely focused on an object of desire or of stimulation lives in the moment, a man who is living "as the senses" lives in the moment.

Thinking is automatic as well as essential.

A calm mind is not an unthinking mind. It is focused and not thinking fruitless thoughts. It is not here and now.

Consider the following carefully: A child can be agitated and be living in the moment.

The conscious pursuit of a goal requires thinking. There cannot be a conscious goal in the here-and-now living. This is a clue to its dysfunctional nature.

A questioning mind questions and rejects goals, whole forests of them at times, but cannot do away with thinking. This is the tragedy.

Buddhism cultivates "awareness" without intellect. It works. Buddhism seems to encourage questioning, but obviously you cannot question its basic tenets and still be a Buddhist. A questioning Buddhist, say one who rejects reincarnation, is in deep trouble. Whose liberation is he seeking?

An important question is: why does the questioning mind reject a goal after seeing its artificiality? Why does a created meaning not appeal, once it is seen as created?

The answer is, perhaps, this:

The sense of the goal being inherent, sacred, inviolable, is an emotional driver for one to pursue it. Remove the inherent-ness, unravel its structure and history and evolution, and the passion dissipates. It is an affective withering under the glare of the intellect.

So, it is not as much as the questioning mind rejects a goal, rather it makes the heart-felt following of it impossible.

(to be continued)

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