Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seeking the Unknown, part 5

The seeker, by a genetic twist of fate perhaps, is incapable and unwilling to surrender to a dogma, ideology or pattern.

For a seeker, to limit his exploration is the harshest punishment.  To bind a seeker to an ideology is akin to asking a harlot to get married.

What is the fate of these seekers?  What is the future of seeking?  What role do they play in human progress?  Are they parasites on society, leeching on the hard work of the ambitious and the industrious?  Do they live only for themselves?  Are they irresponsible, easily bored, unproductive vagrants of civilization?

Or are they like George Zorbas: men who celebrate the inherent mystery in life, and who find joy in a cloud?  And about who books and films are written and produced.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Seeking the Unknown, part 4

The seeker is maladjusted, but he is not seeking adjustment.

The ambitious man seeks to transform himself, to be free from his troublesome desires and his fears.  But the seeker must first accept himself as he is.  With all the desires and contradictions and instincts and drives and I daresay, even ambitions.

The seeker is never very serious about his desires or ambitions, but they might exist.  He might even be aware and ashamed of them.  But the journey cannot start with shame and a desire to be rid of oneself.  That personality is not that of a seeker, but that of a disturbed individual who is seeking a self-image that is better than his current one.

The seeker must start his aimless journey with a full acceptance of the absurdity of himself, his desires, his existence and the universe.  The seeker starts by negating all aims and goals.  And then he ventures out, and starts the exploration about oneself and the world without an end in mind.

Exploration without a destination is the essence of seeking.

To seek happiness is not to seek the unknown.  To seek happiness is frequently to want to regress to a state where stress is non-existent, to go back to the womb.  To seek happiness is usually to want to be free from anxiety and fear.

The seeker embraces anxiety and fear.  The seeker is almost like an outlaw who wishes to break from regulation and restriction.  The Cool Hand Luke who doesn't want to hurt anybody, but who is likely to be punished by society for failing to fit in.

In Hermann Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund, Goldmund is more of a seeker than his friend in the monastery.  It is a mistake to assume that only they seek who retreat from the world into the self.

A seeker that only explores inwardly is limiting his seeking.  Why shouldn't he be at a brothel and a jail and a burial ground and a cathedral and a war-zone as part of his exploration?  Why shouldn't he try an entheogen?  The hallmark of a seeker is someone who doesn't shy away from experiencing.  He might be careful and avoid danger, but he will not be shy.

A seeker is unafraid to be naked.  He welcomes to have his persona cursed and nailed to the cross.

It can be argued that Christ was laughing when he died.

(to be continued)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Seeking the Unknown, part 3

The seeker is addicted to life.  Life in its wondrous, uncertain, surprising, mysterious, spontaneous, natural flow.  Death is certainty, and the seeker abhors the absoluteness of both.

Both the seeker and the ambitious love life, but while the ambitious is afraid of danger and unpredictability, the seeker is afraid of safety and certainty.  The ambitious seeks to create and sustain a narrative for his life.  The ambitious man wants to direct life.  The seeker wants to break free of narratives.  The seeker wants for life to direct him.

A physical jail will be painful for both, but a loss in reputation will be exhilarating to the seeker while debilitating for the ambitious.  The seeker revels in rebellion, while the ambitious abhors it.  The ambitious seeks to profit from the conditions that he finds around himself.  The seeker, not interested in profit, wants to create new conditions which can lead to new experiences.

The seeker converts the unknown to the known, and then moves on to a further unknown.  He lifts the veil, and having found the secret, considers it a secret no more.  Hence he is no longer entranced.  The seeker is in love with the veil, because the veiled is significant only because of it being veiled.  The unveiled holds no interest for the seeker.

The seeker is addicted to life, to movement, to the future.  His mind is the arrow shooting through time, piercing veil after veil, and there is never an end to the eternity that lies in front of him.  For a seeker, a life of a thousand years will be the same as that of a hundred: Unsatisfying.  The seeker dies thirsty.

The seeker seeks to find, but he abhors those that say they have found.  What have they found?  Have they found the future?  They have only found something that is now a memory.  They can relive that memory, relive and recreate that ecstasy or feeling, but the true seeker is forever transcending.  The future is forever the unknown, and the seeker forges ahead.

The seeker is addicted to climbing the endless topography of life.  The seeker may or may not seek a higher peak than one he has experienced, but he will seek a different terrain.  He will not stay on a peak for long.  He will climb down from it, to go somewhere else.

The seeker, if stuck in a shallow pool, will flap and flail.  He will create disturbance so that he is either ejected from the pool, or the pool becomes complex and muddied.  A seeker is a troublemaker.

Children are seekers, and some whose seeking is crushed completely by fear and violence seek only certainty and safety.  But there are those too, whose soul awaits its season of breaking free from its caverns of darkness.  Into the light of mystery, into life.

The law, the machinery, the regulation by the modern state, the control of nature, are music to the ears of the ambitious, but are death knells to the child within the man.  The child seeks to reach for the sun, to touch the stars, to play with fire, to look at the ant and to talk to the bird.  The child is nature: wild and as yet untamed.  And the man that the child becomes is the tame shadow of itself.

The seekers are children in a world of men.

(to be continued)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Seeking the Unknown, part 2

The seeker is never satisfied.  Therefore a seeker cannot be committed to a path of action. To be on path is always to aim for the known. For all his confusion, Jiddu Krishnamurti was right in that Truth is a pathless land.
Karma yoga and bhakti yoga, and the whole system of yoga is for the ambitious, not for the seekers.
Anyone who tries to decide a path for a seeker sets him up for resentment.  A seeker's true guide is life itself. Unpredictable, challenging, never the known.
A seeker feels happy only with a fellow seeker. Ambitious people find him unbalanced but the seeker sees death in the balance of the known.
Often a seeker can become disillusioned with the search for perfection. In that jaded frame he wants to dull himself with what he knows is not going to satisfy him.  But if we believe in the essence of the seeker, he will always have a faint sense that he has betrayed himself.
The ambitious man is afraid of failure while the seeker is afraid of getting stuck.  For the seeker the journey is paramount while for the ambitious it's the destination. The seeker is happiest when untied and free to explore. The ambitious man is happiest when in sight of his goal.
Entrepreneurs and social reformers are usually ambitious. But writers and philosophers, the non-royalty kind, are usually perennially discontented and therefore more likely to be seekers.  And there are many philosophers and thinkers who aren't good at writing and whose thoughts and discontent remain unexpressed.
(to be continued)

Friday, January 01, 2016

Seeking the Unknown, part 1

Could one say that there are essentially two kinds of people in the world: those who seek the known, and those who seek the unknown?  Ambition is another name for seeking the known.

Those who seek the known are the worldly-wise.  They understand what it takes to succeed in the world.  They not only understand, but accept, the rules of the game.  Their aim is to play the game well, so as to emerge a winner.  These are the go-getters.  These people know what they want, and how to get it.  They may succeed or fail, but they know what to aim for.  They respect the respectable, they bow down to authority, and they are never lost or at a loss.  They are seeking to be young forever, to be pretty forever, to be wealthy forever, to have power forever.  They see eternity as an endless series of satisfactions.

The seekers of the known are drawn to novelty, but within the constant sphere of their knowledge.  A new smartphone, a new cocktail, a new vacation at a famous beach, a fast sports car, a grand mansion, the latest bestselling book, ...  They are drawn to fine things and light and luxury, and they do not wish to think of darkness, pain and longing.  They might often say: "This is life.  This is it."

Those who seek the unknown are the misfits, the maladjusted, the maniacs.  These people seek too, but they do not know what to seek, or how to find it.  They are not satisfied with what satisfies the go-getters.  They are not entertained by what others say should entertain them.  They see the hollowness in the respectable, they rebel against authority, and they wonder and wander.  Though they might momentarily enjoy the sensation of a hot bath or a perfumed beautiful body, a constant drone of disdain and mockery of all that is achievable feeds their disenchantment.  They are seeking something which should not be attainable by mere effort or by mere mortals.  They are seeking an experience such that they would willingly and happily have no more to ask of life. 

They are seeking absolute perfection.  They seek transcendence beyond the mundane, and to these people, every thing is mundane.

The seekers of the unknown are drawn to uncharted territory, to off-beat art, to desolation and wilderness, to deeper and wider exploration.  But wherever they go, they eventually have to say: "This was wonderful, but this is not it."

They are drawn to aberration, absurdity and randomness with the hope that in that mess, perhaps there will be found something implicit and strange and un-wished for.  They are drawn to pain more than joy, because for them the pain of their thirst is constant.  They are drawn to silence more than words, because to them words are very solidly in the realm of the known.

Is it possible for these two persona to exist in one individual, or for him to be one or the other at different times?

(to be continued)