Saturday, January 23, 2016

End of desire

The end of desire, aka, not desiring anything, could be a useful condition. We would not desire food for example. We would not desire anything that currently drives us into a state of urgent action most days of our working life. The removal of desire, the quieting of our conscious and subconscious minds is the central objective of Buddhist meditation. They lead us to believe that the desire for food is entirely mental. That is not true, the desire for food has a physical bass for many of us. That is a problem.

The end of desire allows the feeling of urgent action to die out, and we become the authentic human begin we are. Maybe. But can an active alert person, with a sense of urgency, put up with a authentic human being? Unmotivated, except in a narrow field, authentic person? But I am retired now, so why should I care. 

Letting go of desire is a process that the Buddhist have developed, it is a letting go, setting down of desire, of active thought, and becoming one with the present moment, to achieve peace with all that is. It seems to me that a few of the population can be like this, and hold that information. A society could not survive, being 100% small raft Buddhists. At it's height in Tibet, perhaps 30% was all that it could acheive, living the cloistered life in monasteries.

Letting go of desire is one of the items that the Stoics advise, at least some desires. Fame, fortune, power, and all those things we have no power over, Epictetus suggest, should be put aside. Epicures went further, with politics, family, business beyond necessary. We need to be self sufficient, self reliant, with some of a long list of virtues, and live with minimal "stuff". OK, that worked when there was little, but is that practical advice today?

Do I need a bigger social footprint, or a smaller more specific footprint? What does that even mean? Do I need to limit my attachment to fewer ideas and fewer people? Do I need to stop having concern for those who do not follow the same ideology, more or less that I do? But then, each meme is independent, so how does this matrix fit together? Does any of this matter? Each ideology has its strong and weak points. Without understanding the culture, environment, and society they evolved in, and what the problems were addressed by each religion or ideology, it is difficult to make sense of it all. 

So what does this all have to do with stillness of the mind; the no self concept, the emptiness or no purpose concept, the impermanence continual change concept, some thing are up to us, some are not concept? How does all this fit into modern life? All we need to do is end desire, and live in the present moment,  do that  which benefits ourselves and all people, without harming anyone, and treat other people as we would like to be treated.

To do that we need to be free to lay out our concepts freely, and to be there for all to pick up, if they desire it enough. So no desires, are for those who have achieved nirvana and death.  


Saturday, January 16, 2016

In contemplation

Urgency of diet is one of the driving factors in the action of not eating. The devil may sit on our shoulder and say eat it and then begin your diet after you have enjoyed the food; but after never comes, for food is everywhere. By diet, I mean weight reduction plan, aka not eating. By devil I mean food pushers babble, our mental thoughts, food marketing advertising, our mental thoughts of it is only small, it would taste good, etc, while in truth we know it to be dose dependent poison.

Once we recognize this mental black devil, or daimon or daemon, in Socrates terms, that part of mind that is driven by our past practice, or of habit, or of a negative part of our brain, we need to put that part down, and pick up contemplation or true knowledge, and live the virtues way, by not just not scumming to his evil ways, but to learn to flourish without those desires.

Oh well, what am I saying? Contemplation of truth must be part of the good life, and that must be based on the higher goods, virtues, joy, noble thoughts, and sound moral values. Self change should be self improvement, and some of the time, what we are improving is in question.

Many of us suffer from a defect of character that we are to easy to influence from outside inputs that cause us to change our tender psychologies. Harding of the attitudes toward some of the garbage inputs we are exposed to may benefit some of us. Turn off TV and radio, become selective of our reading, do lots of contemplation, meditation, and the like. Stick to what works.

But then what do I know?  Your comments are invited.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Truth or Utility

Some things are up to us, and some are not. The first thing that is up to us is assenting to a proposition. Also up to us are the criteria that we decide to assent or decent, or withhold judgement on that or any proposition. Are those criteria truth or utility? If utility, for us or for others. If it is truth, our truth that we can develop from first principles or what we have been told, as truth, by our holy guidance?

Ultimately, this is a question of how does the data flow in our thinking process and what are the criteria of our decision making process, what ever that might be. We all have a decision making process, and these can be described, have been described by others. We all collect data and compare that data to criteria, and based on some method, make a decision. Or not. Some just refuse and sit there... for a while.

As youths, we often accept that which we are told by elders as being the truth. That is fine as long it is true or has positive utility, positive value to society to believe. One problem comes when what we are told is untrue and does not have a positive outcome on the whole society, only on parts. It may have a positive outcome only for the individual, and that is the birth of the sociopath and/or psychopath. The time of unlimited population growth must end, and that must be also accounted for in our belief system. We must each, for ourselves, reevaluate all that we have been told to believe.

The Islams have a problem. They have been told not to think for themselves, but to follow, what it turns out to be a bloody plan to kill the non-followers. Some are less true followers, and do not follow the Qur'an, and call themselves peace loving, yet the Qur'an says kill the non-believers, and this is a religion of peace within the surviving people, not with the neighbors. Old Islam does not preach peace with others, only peace inside their group. Oh well.

Peace with ourselves comes with knowing that we are responsible to know ourselves, and decision style and criteria. If we think it is permissible to do anything, as long as it benefits ourselves, or our fortunes, we may be less than human. If we only do that which we can derive from first principles, like we are all here to cooperate to provide a flourishing society, or treat others as we would like to be treated. Truth, derived from first order principals must be more right than things derived without reason. When we can lay out the reasons for our actions, at least we justify it to ourselves. 

I would greatly appreciate hearing your views on this subject. I know that there is great diversity and little uniformity, but then what do I know? 


Thursday, January 7, 2016

God Trichotomy

Searching for truth and finding "truth" gives satisfaction to life. With satisfaction comes positive emotions, meaning, engagement, and starts that positive psychology cycle. Increasing our understanding of ourselves and the world around us can drive us to understand more. Understanding other people though, is a entirely different skill set, one that I am sadly lacking in.

Understanding is a purpose, nothing more is required for a purpose for life. A lifetime of learning, and truth seeking can result.

The god question has three possible outcomes:
  1. God is real and exists.... and I believe or I would like to believe, that is I believe in believing. 
  2. God is just a concept, belief in the concepts provides the same benefits and disadvantages as true belief, with the exception of knowing that god is just a concept, not a real object.
  3. God does not exist.
So I need to pick one. I cannot believe in a real god, and a concept is just fine but that is just fooling oneself, a delusion. No thanks. The final choice is there is no god.

Regardless of this, religions are just man made, and as such should be treated as voluntary person control systems. If they are not reasonable, as in treat others as you would like to be treated, they should be abandoned.

There is no evidence suitable for engineering a society that demonstrates the existence of a god; there is much that suggests a god does not exist. A god of the prime cause (what ever that may be) is hardly useful to human development. The moral codes of religions are low compared to the engineering conduct guidelines. As I no longer pay fees to rent the name "P.Eng." I was an engineer, hence religion moral code is redundant.

So what benefit could I find in religion?

But then what do I know?

I suppose that I can find more purpose in educating other to these concepts.