Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Start of Delusion

Here is an exemplary text on starting to seek something Beyond the mundane:
Samvega was what the young Prince Siddhartha felt on his first exposure to aging, illness, and death. It's a hard word to translate because it covers such a complex range--at least three clusters of feelings at once:

* the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it's normally lived; (emphasis mine)

* a chastening sense of one's own complacency and foolishness in having let oneself live so blindly; (emphasis mine)

* and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle. (emphasis mine)
Well, once an intellect is developed enough to see the meaninglessness of life as it is normally lived, there were a few centuries when it could proceed to live abnormally, but meaningfully (hint: spiritually).

That age, my friends, is passe. That comfort is no longer available to advanced brains. God was the only permanence for a while, and it has unfortunately disappeared, leaving perhaps a steady state universe in its wake.

The writer goes on:
...a cup of tea, a walk in the woods, social activism, easing another person's pain ... Never mind that these forms of happiness would still be cut short by aging, illness, and death, he would be told. ... Someone might give him a book by Thoreau or Muir, but their writings would offer him no satisfactory analysis of aging, illness, and death, and no recommendations for how to go beyond them.
Talk about an "absolute" form of happiness that man should strive after, inwardly of course, and you give him a nice, self-serving narcissistic job for a lifetime.
...and open onto Deathlessness...
The awareness of impermanence, when taken to an extreme, does lead to a rather horrid sense of meaninglessness. And no wonder advanced souls retreat into their own bliss after witnessing this horror.

Any seeker who is trying to find some pleasure in fleeting time, gets a kick in the butt. Osho allowed such seekers an amused smile, but that was a difference of strategy, not of the end-goal.
In fact, early Buddhism is not only confident that it can handle feelings of samvega but it's one of the few religions that actively cultivates them to a radical extent.
Not only Buddhism, every religion or spirituality or radical ideologue worth his name has to condemn the normal pleasures of life in order to play the role of pied piper to the la-la land.

Instead of encouraging a reassessment of one's ambitions, they are known to have said, "It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

How can a normal human wanting to live a better life fit into society when society, and life, and its normal pursuits are so cursed and decried and condemned by these wise men?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Think about what is society. - an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another.
The key word in your last line is "normal pursuit". Think about what is a normal pursuit of a society.
A society seeks to maintain (normal pursuit) the "organized pattern of relationships" in order to maintain its identity.
However with time, this pattern may change or have to be altered for society to continue to exist other wise that "normal pursuit" itself becomes a threat to its existence. In other words what was normal yesterday may not be normal today. A person living in society has a hard time seeing this truth, just like a frog that lives inside a well never knows what the well itself looks like from the outside. To know that the frog must jump out of the well, when it finds its existence suffocated or limited by the laws that govern the well. Once it understands how to cross the wall of the well which is the border between inner and outer, the frog is comfortable jumping in and out of the well, no longer feeling suffocated or limited.
This is what the wise men spoke of.To understand or break the "delusion" , not the start of "delusion".

Modern Man said...

Harman,

Though I agree with your analysis of the spiritually duped, I'm baffled by your indirect defense of the common man. After all, isn't he drowning in delusion as well?

Perhaps the common man's life is more practical for societal purposes, but that hardly exempts him from scathing critiques.

(Besides, I gladly tip my hat to anyone who rejects the plenitudes of the modern world, no matter how narcissistic he may be.)

-MM

Harmanjit Singh said...

@MM: Be of this world, and if some things are unsatisfactory, try to improve them, rather than give up on the world itself, and retreating into a "deathless" realm.

Anonymous said...

Buddha did not give up on the world and simply die or vanish into a cave of "deathless realm".

He simply moved out of society for a while (quite like a student leaves home to study at a university) to learn the meaning of "nirvana" and came back to the world to preach a path that is being followed even 2000+ years after his death!

So did many enlightened souls like him - like Mahavira, Shankaracharya, Jesus, Moses, Mohammad all had to retreat to seclusion to get enlightened (UNDERSTAND DELUSION), but they all came back to help the masses they left behind in a way they knew best.

Even new age gurus like Sri Sri, Ramdev Jiddu, UGK,sai baba etc are also doing or did the same - living in the world and trying to help society even if they did go into seclusion for enlightenment so really it is up to each one whether they want to understand delusion or to start a delusion (which may be a fruitless exercise in the long run). Indian spirituality has never advocated creating or destroying a delusion for fun or ego gratification only understanding a delusion and its purpose.

Anonymous said...

"How can a normal human wanting to live a better life fit into society when society, and life, and its normal pursuits are so cursed and decried and condemned by these wise men?"

not sure what your getting at here. the fact is society IS sick and saying so to normal humans has never had any effect.

i just assume therefore that these men are talking to an intellect that is ready to wake up from all this inner dreaming even tho they are in varying stages of this process themselves.

words that speak of the silliness of living in illusions are only interpreted by normal people still believing in them as cursing, decrying and condemning there way of life. men who dare to speak them men are just a support group urging those who are also beginning (as they are) to keep at it and awaken from the dreamtime.

some of these wise men of course are not so wise and their solution is still within the dream which is no solution at all, but a glimpse of peace is what drives them all, as they, with us, press on to freedom from the BS.

these men guide those who need the "incremental changes" you spoke of.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous:

society IS sick

For something to be called "sick", it stands to reason that it was or has been seen to be healthy, or that it is compared to something else and similar which is healthy.

Can you tell me when humanity was /not/ "sick" or describe to me a
society which is not "sick" as of now?

Or more generically, is there any species which is not involved in competition with other species or within itself (i.e. which is not universally a loving, altruistic species)?

My point is, if all societies, all species, all the time are to be considered "sick", maybe you have very beautiful, unrealizable and romantic notions of health (something like The garden of Eden), and maybe it is these notions which need a re-thinking.

Anonymous said...

Harmanjit Singh said...

@MM: Be of this world, and if some things are unsatisfactory, try to improve them, rather than give up on the world itself, and retreating into a "deathless" realm.

ah yes, i get it now - even if i don't agree with how youre going about it.

harman do consider putting a small summary like this at the end of your blogs it would sure make the gist of your thoughts much clearer.
we are all comprehending from such varying degrees of blinkered viewpoints still.

like the synopsis of a movie if you get my drift :-)

Anonymous said...

fair enough.

but then again, does sick really assume that something was once healthy. somethings are born sick (malfunctioning).

but the word in this case is meant to mean "affected with madness or insanity".

did this happen to humanity incrementally (that word again :-) or is it a result of initial ignorance (the primitive brain) taking the wrong path?

i think the kind of 'sick' these men mean is knowing what is beneficial but preferring to behave senselessly.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous:

but the word in this case is meant to mean "affected with madness or insanity".

Therein lies the rub. What does that madness or insanity consist of, except in doing what our instincts and our conditioning make us do?

i think the kind of 'sick' these men mean is knowing what is beneficial but preferring to behave senselessly.

Ahh.. So, according to the above, it is healthy to behave cognitively and knowledgeably ("mindfully" as some people say it), but "sick" to behave as per instincts and conditioning?

Am I getting you right?

Anonymous said...

"Am I getting you right?"

almost. if the knowledge and mindfulness is not connected/confirmed by tangible facts, then it remains insane.

like nature we start off excessively at first (huge dinosaurs) same with the mind and then everything gets refined. to cling to the unrefined is insane.

Anonymous said...

To understand Jiddu's comment:
Let us take a society or typical household in India where patriarchy is the order of governence.
A woman who accepts this order without rebellion is said to be well adjusted in this household or society.
For example: she turns in all her earnings to her husband/fil, takes care of the well being of the menfolk, touches their feet before leaving home, is a subservient meek member of the household, will willingly abort a female fetus if this family asks her to, who cannot understand why she should be any different and create problems for herself.
Is the woman sick or is her household/society sick?

Harmanjit Singh said...

Is the woman sick or is her household/society sick?

I don't think you got the point of my article.

Supposing there are disagreeable traits in the world around (on which I agree with you), what are the spiritualists suggesting?

To engage and improve the human condition?

Or to disengage, huffily reject the human condition as fundamentally broken, and find one's bliss somewhere in the heart region or in the brain stem?

Anonymous said...

So who was deluded/sick? The woman or the society?
The woman after all was well adjusted with her society and both were mutually OK with the other.

Any " educated" observer will conclude this society needs to change, because this society is living in a delusion - and as a result of that delusion females are dwindling in number and crimes being committed against them.

Now how does an "educated' observer conclude that and not the woman in the household? Because the observer is outside the household/society and also has a larger knowledge base.

Spirituality equips you with that larger knowledge base that you acquire by looking within. It also helps you observe realities as an outsider to help find true causes of problems(delusions). Escaping to some blissful selfish world where no one else exists is a delusion in itself and definitely spirituality advocates understanding delusions not creating more of them.

Anonymous said...

Harman: "to disengage, huffily reject the human condition as fundamentally broken, and find one's bliss somewhere in the heart region or in the brain stem?"


sure total rejection of ones fellow human beings is a cop-out. sneering and ridiculing whilst claiming one alternative is far superior is, youre right, just the other side of the coin, the start of another delusion. maybe even more insidious since (unlike those they decry) they start preaching from their 'special' mountaintop to the plebes too beneath them to join.

dam right its no solution. the solution is to up ones PR skills and engage with humanity, cautiously. and a little retreat every now (like a fast) can clear the decks and realign the vision .

Anonymous said...

Medical science at this time is not yet capable of providing the relief that some humans need due to the disagreeable traits in the world around.

Spirituality provides such humans with relief that they need (even if they are being too narcissistic). Rather than accusing them of being narcissistic, I would like the state/society/medical science to come up with some help for such humans. Till that happens, spirituality helps a part of the humanity from them becoming insane and damaging society. I believe that spirituality has saved many people from scientific 'shock' therapy. There is a need for better scientific understanding of the human mind/body. When that scientific advancement happens, there will be no need for spirituality to fill the gap and it will wither away on its own. History is proof that this has been happening incrementally. We want to do something to have Garden of Eden, way to go about it may be scientific or spiritual. Some of us who have seen the spiritual Garden of Eden (which is all in the head) are not satisfied by that and want the real deal. Let us strive for it and have the real physical scientific Garden of Eden (or as close to it as possible) ASAP. Let's strive for it. Amen!

Modern Man said...

Harman,

You wrote: "To engage and improve the human condition?"

This presupposes that the human condition can be improved. Indeed, maybe the aggregate physical comforts of mankind will increase over time, but that does nothing to ease the pain of consciousness (in fact, it might even make it more severe).

Happiness is unobtainable, and suffering is inevitable. To have hope otherwise seems delusional, or heroically perverse.

In a meaningless universe, even to breathe is delusional, but the spiritualist and the man of society take it to the heights of vulgarity.

-MM

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone here so deluded about God and spirituality? "God was the only permanence for while, but now even that has disappeared?"

Since when did God disappear? There can never be impermanence or transience without a Permanent or Constant.

So the fact that a world(transient) exists automatically means a God(Constant) exists.

Harmanjit Singh said...

From: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2079987/I-Dont-Believe-in-Anything-Interview-With-Krishnamurti

--
EWJ: So you feel that education is a place to really effect a change?

K: If teachers were concerned, if education all over the world was
concerned, to bring about a new generation they could do it. But they are not concerned. They want to stuff the children with mathematics, biology, chemistry, to make them become good engineers. Society wants good engineers—there's money in it.
Educators have enormous responsibility because they hold the future.

More than the parents. Educators must be concerned with the holistic
view of life. I've talked about it so much. We've got a school in
California, a school in England, and five schools in India, and I've
spent a great deal of time in all of them. But the parents want their
children to be like themselves—have a good job, get married, settle down. Society around them wants that. So it's a tremendous battle with the parents, with the teachers, with the society. It's a sick world.
--

Anonymous said...

orrrrr.....

Why is everyone out there so deluded about God and spirituality? "God was the only permanent delusion for while, but now even that has reappeared?

Since when did God ever appear? There's always been an impermanence or transience actuality with a Permanent or Constant actuality.

So the fact that an actual world exists automatically means a conceptualised God doesn't need to.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Jiddu is totally or exclusively denouncing "normal pursuits" of getting degrees, a job marrying and having kids. To me it appears what he is calling sick is the tendency of parents to impose a model that worked for them on their kids without thinking of the kid as an individual who may have some some genes turned on in him which were not there in either of his parents. For example the kid may be born to be a renunciate monk tendencies even though he/she was born in a royal family like Meerabai was, so what was the use of forcing her to get married beget heirs and be a princess she was not cut out to be?
This attempt by parents and society to mold an individual to fit into their mold and stay there is what Jiddu finds sick. Like the frog in the well who jumps out to experience the larger consciousness now finds joy in being inside and outside the well of his own will, what if the other frogs in the well told him - stay here in the well with us, that is the only safe reality for us and therefore for you too. Would that not be sick and suffocating for the frog?
That tendency of the frogs in the well is what Jiddu calls sick. His view of education was to also teach all frogs how to jump in and out of the well.

Anonymous said...

A constant by definition does not change, appear or disappear or reappear.
Without the c, E= mc squared cannot be defined.
This is where Indian spirituality and science both concur.
Think of the E and the m whatever way you want, actual, transient whatever but the c will have to always be a constant.

Anonymous said...

Time and again I have observed that this man called Harman who seems to be high on intellect with a strong hold on language is actually very narrow in vision. It is very easy for him to take up any paragraph from here and there specially on subjects of spirituality and narcism and postmortemise it.

Susan said...

Hi Anonymous, you may agree that observation/knowledge/experiences and intellect/logic are the tools by which we get to know about everything around us and form our beliefs. If you find someone's ideas/beliefs to be wrong or narrow, you would be able to put your point well and make people understand your views if you make use of the same tools and give specific reasons. Generic accusations like these usually do not add any value to a discussion.

Anonymous said...

every now and then I observe someone called anonymous and not very high on intellect and with a weak hold on language - and use of spell checkers - and narrow in vision finds it easier to personally attack the blogger here rather than take up any any paragraph from here or there specially on subjects of spirituality and narcissism and offer their considered broader vision.

Anonymous said...

This is amusing! Anonymouses attacking anonymouses and hijacking poor Harman's blog! All the Anonymouses in favor of Harman say Aye-Anonymous and all those against Harman say Nay-Anonymous please!

Harman, you are a blogger. When you write like this, there will be the Ayes and the Nays. If you feel the comments are personal it means your writing is personal too and a blog is generally public. Either you exercise your right to delete those comments you think attack you personally or post them and let them be without personally responding to them.
When you respond it means you are letting it affect you personally which is not good for you.

rb said...

I don't find the expressed anonymous comment on the blogger here as being offensive. It is an observation hence open ended and not a declaration. It falls in the category of a daring expression with the only flaw being that it is anonymously made.

Deleting or ignoring such observation would be self-ignoring or even narcissi. Denying such observations would not be good on the part of this blog, which is also personal in a way that it is a tool for inquiry for the blogger himself.

The blogger's vision (for instance) is reflected in his quoting of JK's words above which are very specific to just what the blogger wants to say than the clearly visible broader gamut of what is being actually said and reflected in JK's expression on the subject. The blogger’s sectional view on spirituality as mere means of finding bliss and disengaging entirely from human condition is also a reflection on the same lines.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Another unedited excerpt for your kind perusal:

--

Q: What is the work of man?

K: What do you think it is? Is it to study, pass examinations, get a job and do it for the rest of your life? Is it to go to the temple, join groups, launch various reforms? Is it man's work to kill animals for his own food? Is it man's work to build a bridge for the train to cross, to dig wells in a dry land, to find oil, to climb mountains, to conquer the earth and the air, to write poems, to paint, to love, to hate? Is all this the work of man? Building civilizations that come toppling down in a few centuries, bringing about wars, creating God in one's own image, killing people in thename of religion or the State, talking of peace and brotherhood while usurping power and being ruthless to others - this is what man is doing all around you, is it not? And is this the true work of man?

You can see hat all this work leads to destruction and misery, to chaos and despair. Great luxuries exist side by side with extreme poverty; disease and starvation, with refrigerators and jet planes. All this is the work of man, and when you see it , don't you ask yourself, "Is that all? Is there not something else which is the true work of man?" If we can find out what is the true work of man, then jet planes, washing machines, bridges, hostels will all have an entirely different meaning. But without finding out what is the true work of man, merely to indulge in reforms, in reshaping what man has already done, will lead nowhere.

So what is the true work of man? Surely the true work of man is to discover truth, God; it is to love and not to be caught in his own self-enclosing activities. In the very discovery of what is true, there is love in man's relationship with man will create a different civilization, a new world.
(Think on these things, J Krishnaurti)
--

Anonymous said...

So what is the true work of man?


"Honey, you stick to the washin', ironin', cookin', and scrubbin'. No wife of mine is gonna work."

Anonymous said...

"Disengage from the human condition to find bliss" why do you assume this is what spirituality asks you to do?
Why do you assume Jiddu is asking you to denounce the "normal pursuits"? Can you not see that he is basically talking of expanding the consciousness so that one understands the human condition and its pursuits with a broader perspective?
Why do all the articles have to assume a spritualist is a narcissist? Is this not a biased, narrow, narcissistic view in itself?

Anonymous said...

you don't have to assume. the spiritual SELF sticks out like dogs dangles all over the planet when you take off your rose colored glasses.

rb said...

Spirituality as it was meant, sustained human life on our planet for thousands of years before it got polluted by the maths of religion and became the major cause of hatred on earth. Science took over and become the core of human life and in less than 100 years has become a threat to life of this planet. Time has come to bring spirituality and science together rather then denying any of these in toto and let us see what happens.

Anonymous said...

"Spirituality as it was meant, sustained human life on our planet for thousands of years before it got polluted by the maths of religion and became the major cause of hatred on earth."

i have news, spirituality and religion are basically the same. both imagine they originate from a metaphysical realm except one hopes to reunite with a supreme being and the other, a god's heaven. believing in either does the earth no favors, they dissociate humanity from actuality, hence the mess we've made.

"Time has come to bring spirituality and science together"

i have news, they already are. scientists are dreaming they are metaphysical beings too. it holds up a lot of science. the hope of immortality is just the survival instinct of a primitive brain, has been for eons.

"let us see what happens."

nothing will (nothing has) as long as humans are content to merely spectate from on high.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous:

they dissociate humanity from actuality

Actualism is for those who are disillusioned from spirituality and know enlightenment is a sham. It is the start of an even bigger delusion: Actual Freedom from the Human Condition.

Both spirituality and actuality promise an other-worldly bliss if only you renounce the normal passions and engagements of life.

Anonymous said...

And you want to be this Trishanku who wants to go to the land of ever lasting bliss, in the human condition and stay there?

Anonymous said...

Harman, do you think human emotions/passions/feelings can be experienced *without distorting* the senses

or do you consider them another sense - like thought - meant to enhance the sensate experiences of the tangible world.

if so can you give an example of when your own emotional/passional/feelings enhanced your sense experience?

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous:

Harman, do you think human emotions/passions/feelings can be experienced *without distorting* the senses?

Probably not. I wouldn't call it a "distortion" though, as that has a negative connotation.

or do you consider them another sense - like thought - meant to enhance the sensate experiences of the tangible world.

Just so that I make my stand clear, I no longer consider an affect-less purely sensual experience as a big deal. Affections, both positive and negative, and insightful thoughts are also valuable and important experiences. Of course extremely negative affective states, just like extreme pain in the body, are harmful to oneself and others.

Sensations, thoughts, affects, drives: they and their inter-action are what makes for a rich and interesting life.

Anonymous said...

H: Affections, both positive and negative, and insightful thoughts are also valuable and important experiences.

i do hope one day you feel inclined to write a blog about the above and elaborate on their merts further because unless i've missed something, so far, in regards to the human condition, you tend blog about your discontentment with it.

Anonymous said...

"a rich and interesting life."

yes i keep being told not to feel sorry for the soldiers in afganistan, they wanna be there, they think its exciting!

but i doubt those picking up the scattered limbs of their loved ones are saying the same thing.

but its a price they've been willing to pay for centuries, to ensure their tribal sons, keep up the traditions of a rich and interesting life.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous:

yes i keep being told not to feel sorry for the soldiers in afganistan, they wanna be there, they think its exciting!

I wonder who tells you that. Or are you arguing for the sake of arguing.

Anonymous said...

young soldiers who have returned from war zones (not just afganistan) have told me each time they heard the sympathy in my voice. Russians when i was a volunteer for the olympic games told me the same thing whenever i sounded sure they would want to live in this peaceful country. Israelis, many struggling nationalities said they wanna be where the action is, its too boring here. many soldiers have been interviewed by the BBC would say, sure it was tough but they welcomed the challenge. recently one journalist covered war music thats the ear spitting music thats piped through loud speakers as american tanks come trundling in. fierce music affects the emotions and reflex instincts, its designed to distorts the senses and create mayhem. its even piped down from helicopters above sokmetimes. trumpets and pounding drums been used in war for centuries. the soldiers described a cacophony of LOUD incongruous music blaring, guns blasting, people running everywhere SCREAMING, bombs exploding and they spoke about these terrible things as tho it were exciting!?

Anonymous said...

and they torture the nervous system of prisoners with loud, jarring, rock music 24hrs a day. shackled in grotesque positions and deprived of sleep for days on end on end. do you know what happens to the nervous system when this goes on for too long? to the blood pressure, the heart, the mind? ...well its considered acceptable because they aren't physically touching them. so its not called torture. and the detainees guarding them would joke about what music they should play next to really sock it to 'em. to them it was entertaining and exciting.

but learning about mans inhumanity to man, just made me feel sick

Anonymous said...

i just want OUT harman and to live a long healthy constructive life.