Tuesday 10 October 2017

Is Life Maya (illusion)?

'Eastern' religions - primarily Hinduism, also Buddhism, have it that life, the world, experience are Maya - illusion. The Western Platonic tradition has much the same core.

By my understanding; the purpose of experience is for us to grow towards divinity. and this is the 'function' of Life, or The World, of Creation.

It is true that this world of experience is not the world of primary reality; in the sense that it is a world of indirect communication rather than direct knowledge. Nonetheless, it is via this world of indirect communications that we are able to grow.

If the world of experience is discounted, is regarded as merely illusion, then Man cannot become A god; and this is indeed the case for Eastern religions - in which the purpose or hope is not to become A god, but to lose the Self and 'fuse' with the divine.

So, we are not created as gods, and therefore must become gods; and it is by experience, by Life in The World, that we may become gods (and there is no other way).

Therefore, despite that Life is not ultimate reality - and in that sense might correctly be termed Maya; Life is not merely illusion - and is that sense Life is Not Maya.

Life is (mostly) illusory in terms of knowledge, but (potentially) real in terms of function.

1 comment:

Chiu ChunLing said...

Illusion doesn't imply that a thing is not real, but that the perception of it (especially from a given perspective) tends to contradict the reality (or at least the perceptions available from other perspectives).

An individual life, as seen from the singular position of the person living it, is highly susceptible to fostering illusions that are easily seen as contradicting reality if we look at that same aspect of another person's life from the outside.

Conversely, it may be said that our perceptions of other people's lives, being limited to our own outside perspective, makes us easily subject to illusions about the nature of their experiences which we could quickly dispel if we were in their place.

Moral development requires reconciling to the reality which is behind life both as experienced from within and seen from without, rather than living only in one or the other perspective. If we reduce life to our own stream of experience and dismiss the evidence of what life looks like from the outside with the solipsist delusion that other lives aren't as real as our own, we are cut off from developing a higher perspective of life. But looking at life only from the outside and dismissing our own experience of life as 'delusions' does the same thing, and can inflict it on a socially significant level.

To recognize that we may seem to others as others seem to us, and that others may experience their own lives just as we experience ours, is the vital cognition that allows us to deal with others in a way that has a reasonable chance of predictably resulting in their treatment of us in return being according to our desires, i.e. "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:" because being people like yourself, they are apt to respond in kind.

Of course, that's a gross simplification, since not all entities you may act upon are people, and not all people are apt to respond in kind to your acts. There is a great amount of practical morality that has to deal with distinguishing how to treat things other than people and how to distinguish people who will reciprocate your actions from those who will not. But how to be and treat the kind of person whose one good turn deserves another is the core of moral life. That requires stripping away our natural illusions about the differences between ourselves and others which arise from a limited perspective...while becoming more adept at understanding what those differences really are (for they surely exist).