Saturday, 14 July 2007

Human Potential & Philosophical Ruminations

I am developing a belief that people behave more or less in ways in which they are expected to behave, or in the ways they are trained to behave. Most people are never trained to think for themselves, or better said, they are retrained to rely upon others – specifically those in authority – for advice and admonition. Institutionalized "learning", in its main manifestations – public schools, churches and universities – is designed to give answers and solutions rather than to teach its students and adherents to seek out those solutions for themselves. It really is more akin to indoctrination than learning. Learning is based upon personal experience, whereas indoctrination is based upon experience outside one's own immediate experience.

For example: After one's successful completion of his "education", he is awarded a diploma which signifies that he is now an "expert" in whichever fields of study, and for the rest of this person's life, he will base and contrast his experiences based upon his learned expectations. Rather than ever challenging his most basic assumptions, he will instead make every attempt at reclassification and reevaluation of experiences that either fall outside of said assumptions, or that do not neatly integrate within them. Perhaps this individual will disregard completely any information that runs counter to his "education", since it cannot be right. And this person represents a leader in our society; he is one of our educated elite! Those few, rare individuals that literally "think outside the box" (how I hate this cliché), are quite often ignored until their theories are later accepted as general rule.

Regardless of one's education, whether it be a high school diploma, community college, trade school or university; we all inherently "know" the falsities and illusions of this transitory existence. Most of us simply choose to ignore this inherent, internal wisdom. There are lyrics from Leonard Cohen which come to mind from his song/poem "Everybody Knows".

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that youve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows youve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that its now or never
Everybody knows that its me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when youve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows that its moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But theres gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that youre in trouble
Everybody knows what youve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows its coming apart
Take one last look at this sacred heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows…

For those who would defend institutions, it is said that the mass of humanity are like sheep that need a shepherd. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way (Isaiah 53:6). We need a Christ, or a Pope or a Führer to gather us together and show us the way. There is of course a spiritual truth in this scriptural morsel, but like all language it is subject to misunderstanding, for "the way" is not in a person, nor a Messiah. The Way is a practice, and a means of living that leads to the truth within each of us. We are each one of us, our very own Messiah. Each of us is a spark of Divinity, a child of G-d. That is the most assured truth in just about every faith tradition. We do not need anyone to find what is already within us, yet we are all in this together. The other grand spiritual truth is that we all are one. These truths are often dispelled by institutionalized religion and political organizations (corporations included), which attempt to isolate us and make us vulnerable. I sincerely believe the most fundamental human trait is empathy and compassion. The polar opposite is true for institutions which are invariably divisive and manipulate humanity in ways that are fully contrary to its nature.

Ever wonder why mankind collectively, consistently misbehaves like a selfish, spoiled child? Could it possibly be that our Institutions actually capitalize on such? Could it be that by treating us a children; we behave like children? Could it be that our human potential is intentionally, actively and repeatedly curtailed? Could it be that Institutions in fact represent a collective manifestation of our ego? Since we are not who we think we are; we are not what others think we are; we are not our thoughts nor language used to describe us; neither are we our acquisitions, material or otherwise; and finally we are not even our bodies which die and decay; therefore our ego is nothing but an illusion, and its greatest fear is "death", or its exposure to the truth that it never existed in the first place. The ego would prefer to see the destruction of the Universe over its own. We should know that our one and only adversary, the sole satanic force bent upon our destruction, is in fact what we so often perceive as ourselves – that incessant voice that broadcasts in our conscience night and day – that very voice we so readily confuse as our own! Be still and know that I AM. Be here and now. See the illusion for what it is.

Am I an Anarchist? I suppose one could find such ideological leanings in my evolving philosophy. Yet I also believe mankind is capable of so much either as individuals or in community. But mind you, community does not imply like minds and like motives even. Community is everyone living in relative harmony in all their various facets and expressions. Community implies tolerance of others. Judgement is withheld, and mercy flows like a river…

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