Thursday 5 October 2017

The two-fold difficulty about what we need to do...

William Arkle's painting The Philosophers

On the one hand we need to make choices and make an effort - what we need to do is neither to surrender to the Zeitgeist nor to relax into dreaminess - but to pursue evolution of consciousness consciously and explicitly.

On the other hand; when modern people make a deliberate and conscious effort - they nearly always do so by becoming focused on a program, a routine, a set of practices... and thereby they are passive but in a different way, thereby they narrow their perspective and become even more 'modern' and materialist (i.e. spiritually adolescent).

This is a reason why genuine spiritual progress is so rare; because even when people realise that is needs conscious, explicit, effort - it simply falls back into more-of-the-same-thing.

The 'answer' (easier said than done) is Not to use the mighty will-power to seek; but the heart. Actively to seek but based on intuitive thinking - and therefore Not to a program.

In sum, we need to be prepared to make fools of ourselves - even by our own estimation. Maybe that is the ultimate humility?


Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that it is less important to be willing to make fools of ourselves than it is to admit when we are already fools.

It is by admitting the limitations of our current knowledge and perspective that we are motivated to seek a higher vantage point and look for that which we did not previously know we needed to see.

Bruce Charlton said...

To admit when we are fools isn't enough - it isn't anything-like enough! It is honest, but not courageous - and courage is necessary.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I suppose you must mean that we must admit to other people that we are fools, rather than only to ourselves (I have little experience with the mechanism of "admitting things to myself"). This is a possible interpretation of "make fools of ourselves", but for me that phrasing has always implied overtly foolish action.

For me, acknowledging that a commandment to do something is rooted in wisdom beyond my own, and thus doing what would seem foolish purely in my own estimation, is not making a fool of myself, but admitting I'm a fool and showing obedience to greater wisdom. But if this is what you mean by the term, the clarification is sufficient.

If you mean what I would normally interpret "making fools of ourselves" to mean, namely doing what our own judgment and scripture condemns as foolish, then I am at a loss as to how that should be what we need to do.

Bruce Charlton said...

"I suppose you must mean that we must admit to other people that we are fools, rather than only to ourselves"

No - I mean we must be prepared to *be* fools.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I'm still having trouble understanding what you mean by that.

Does it mean to follow wisdom beyond our own understanding, or to really act contrary to the highest wisdom? Does it mean to confess that we are more foolish than we thought, or to seek to be even more foolish than we've been?

Bruce Charlton said...

I explain it in the link/s given in the post.

Chiu ChunLing said...

But on the face of it, those didn't address the question of whether we are following a wisdom higher than our own level of understanding or simply rejecting all wisdom entirely.

Or is the point that we shouldn't even try to make that distinction, for ourselves or others?