Die Every Day

I was meditating this morning, when the thought came that this is the right time to die. The problem is that it doesn’t come quickly or easily if you’re not a consistent or very experienced practitioner.

A note on the language used here. Death is of the self, the ego, not in any way the physical concept. This post is very prone to misinterpretation, it is clear how the idea of reincarnation-rebirth became worked into religions like Buddhism when interpreted by people that had not had the core experience already and could not understand the symbolic meaning. As is the permanent risk when discussing such things.

I don’t like to reference Jesus because it automatically involves religion, so I’m going to paraphrase to remove some of the loadedness. It is approximately ‘To live a transcendent spiritual life, one must practice dying each and every day of their life’. Given that this can be derived directly from the definition of transcendence, it is relatively straightforward, the difference is the implication that the longer you go without doing this, the further you will be from being able to do it.

The reason it has been so long is that I have discovered that there are good reasons to not die every day in the sense of the maintenance of the many selves. I will write a more detailed blog at some point as to what this is, but the point is that if you’re operating in a fast-paced society of people, dying every day is impractical and can be harmful.

However! The inability to die is of even greater harm. It is in this death, this reset, that the most significant lessons and discoveries occur. Without this, true empathy and honesty tempered with love are significantly more difficult and even impossible in some cases.

The thought pushed me to realise that just leaving and not using this core reset switch can be of significant personal detriment. Especially if the individual has still yet to undergo their first death. The imperative of this has been highlighted by all of the significant spiritual leaders through time.

As an action on the back of this, I am going to try to work back to this state over the next week.

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Define the “type of philosophy”

A friend recently asked if I could explain the types of philosophy that I am attempting to extend.

At first I felt alone, following my little experience with some degree of enlightenment, I could not find anything that spoke of the experiences I had had.

After not having found anything, I felt that it was my responsibility to communicate the details of the experience that intelligent and scientific people could appreciate it. I began writing, but soon after this an influential author called Sam Harris released a book called ‘Waking Up’ which detailed very similar experiences and was written much better than I could achieve. I was relieved that this book already existed.

In addition, I continued the search for more completed work before turning to the wild world that is religion. Many poets had covered much of the experience in an artistic way, but my philosophical mind found this pleasurable, but not satisfying.

Eventually I came across the closest philosophy I could find in the Ancient Greek school of the Cynic. As with most words, the meaning of the modern word ‘cynic’ is different from its origin. See the wiki exert below:

For the Cynics, the purpose of life was to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which was natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.

The word “cynic” was derogatory term with a little translation of “the dog”. The reason for this is because the motivations associated with general social order are questioned and rejected in Cynicism.

This is the foundation of part of my reasoning. I have now also extended into some of Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, and mostly Eastern religions. As a side note here, I recently learned that the old old philosophy / religion in the East largely considered time to be circular, with all events repeating, rather than the belief of it being linear that we have in the west. This is probably the cause of all the reincarnation and karma concepts embedded in these religions. But I digress.

More recently I have generated new philosophical views that I am yet to find any others having discussed, and this is receiving most of my attention currently.

Ted Talk response on empathy

When listening to a ted talk recently the speaker described a kind of more accessible empathy for the masses.

True empathy is linked to objective and unconditional compassion.

A very interesting strategy for getting to empathy, a faux-empathy that can be applied to collectives in addition to individuals. He makes a quick comment about applying it at an individual level.

Thinking outwardly is what most people get for free with transcendence as a symptom of universal objectivity.

He makes a false association about what you give out impacts what you receive back, although this may be true in very large numbers applied to a predefined population. This puts the imperative on doing good to maximise personal gain. So, empathy with an intent, so not really empathy at all. But it suffices for a faux- empathy.

Fundamental economic assumption

Recently my lens has turned to the fundamental economic assumption that people are only driven to do things for self-gain, and given two tasks of equal effort, a person will rationally select the choice of the two that provides the greatest value to them.

It doesn’t take a lot of mental exploration to think of scenarios where this economically driven human creature does not accurately reflect the behaviour of the regular human we meet in our everyday lives. This is one of the most fundamental and pervasive assumptions of our modern society, and it is not being questioned nearly enough. A key concern of mine is that this is at complete odds with a spiritual life, almost by definition, to seek spirituality through meditation takes a great deal of effort and the expected gain is 0 if it is being done correctly. There is a concept called “spiritual materialism” for those that approach meditation and spirituality as an economic commodity; it is considered by some to be worse than no spirituality at all.

Human Nature is defined by the assumptions we have of it. Again, we ARE what we assume we are. If you assume someone is going to be bad in an interview, they will be bad in an interview. If you assume we will fundamentally only do things for personal gain, we will only behave in the interest of personal gain.

I believe this assumption is preventing our evolution as a society.

The source of this article is from a previous post on an opinion piece.

“Why We Work” – An economically rational opinion piece and my critique

I recently read an article “why we work” in which the author produced a model

  1. Play
  2. Purpose (world effect)
  3. Potential (for growth)
  4. External Emotional, Financial, misc

Full article can be read here

My response:

I am reminded of the modern economic axiom, a person will only do something to gain directly. I suspect the axiom was shared as it is accepted as true by most, including our author.

Personally, I work for mainly 2 reasons. Community and opportunity. If something provided better opportunity and support, that is exactly what I’d do.

In what and where I work is effectively arbitrary though, it is a result of past decisions made by a past self, someone I cannot speak on behalf of. The reason I continue to work in the same place as yesterday is a moral obligation, and my resume to an extent. Someone that follows fun more than a rut is (rightly) seen as a risk to an employer.

In conclusion, there are assumptions made that should have been discussed here. This model only works for those with the same assumptions.

Motivation – Todo lists

Two things not usually written about in conjunction is motivation and tasks. We know there is some motivation behind a task, but why is it so much easier to feel excited about completing something in the dead of night than it is in the morning?

My solution is to do this ahead of time, write the What (the task) and Why (the value) together, so you get What-Why lists, rather than Todo Lists.

Please try this and let me know how you feel. I’ve seen good results so far.

Below is some philosophical reasoning:

The monkey mind, where our base drive and single task driven mindset seems to reside has a relatively terrible memory that appears to be cleaned out at night. For most people who have a general rationality to them, if you give them a reasonable reason for doing a task, they will be committed to completing it. We may intellectually know why we are doing something in an abstract sense, as well as the best next step; but the part of our brain that gives us drive may have forgotten the core reasons and it requires clear non-abstract reasons.

The problem, we have an idea that stems from a motivation, some “why”, then we derive some “whats” or tasks to deliver value as described in the “why”. Then we go away and come back another day and we meet a list of “whats” without the “why”, and now we have to derive the “why” to work out the value to gain a drive or motivation to complete the tasks. We have all tried just telling ourselves to just do something and not argue, but to get our monkey mind and our driver back, it needs to be convinced, it needs to be told “why” we are doing something in very non-abstract terms, then we will be focussed and driven in completing that task. Finding this value can be extremely hard sometimes, and ultimately, if there is no value, we shouldn’t do it.

As stated above, my solution is to do this ahead of time, write the What (the task) and Why (the value) together, so you get What-Why lists, rather than Todo Lists. Please try this and let me know how you feel. I’ve seen good results so far.

Curious fact about the primitive mind

A girl I was with had said some things that had offended my sexual sensibilities. I obviously withdrew as whatever compartment of the brain that controls sexual response had been switched to off. I made the presumption that this is a primitive brain compartment and could not be altered via rationality.

Note that I was not angry or upset, I factually stated that that part of my brain is offended, which is fine, it cannot be changed and we continued on our non-sexual ways. A short while later, I could see the girl thinking, so I enquired with the common enquiry between those that share a bed, “what are you thinking?” Her response was a pretty lie, “I was thinking about how perfect and absolutely amazing you feel when you’re inside of me.” Her words were not so graceful, and the entire thing made me laugh at how contrived the entire notion was. My intellect laughed and rejected the extremity of her engagement that she professed, but the interesting event followed.

My sexual mind responded positively, very positively. While my intellectual mind could say nothing to “switch the sexual switch”, the pretty and contrived notion expressed by my partner had an immediate effect!

I know very little about the sexual brain, how it works, and where it resides. I know that if the intellectual mind is silenced, it will be activated and self-controlled effectively indefinitely, so I know it is relatively compartmentalised in the primitive mind. The interesting thing is that positive words (and presumably negative words) of another have a profound effect on that area of the brain, and it would appear that our intellectual mind has limited access (if any) to that section of the brain.

I now wonder, how much of the primitive mind is hidden away beyond “the intellect” like this. If anyone out there has any thoughts on this, I would love to hear them.

A takeaway for me here is the power of kind and romantic words. You and the person can intellectually know that what you’re saying is silly and nonsense, but if you are in a state of emotional trust towards a person, their words will have profound and deep impact; even if you “know” that they’re nonsense. The more I think of this, the more I realise I have always been aware of this.

Setting self-goals out of compassion.

I have a mantra to carry out compassion when I am in states in which compassion does not so naturally occur. One of my favourites is

Leave things better than what you found them

Only today I have had the time to realise that this is also applies to the physical structure from which our experience arise. Our physical (body and brain) health.

I can now add the follow on thought:

Leave yourself better than when you found you

The question is how best to do this. I think the solution is trivially daily goal setting, so that you have a simple metric throughout the day of whether you are on the path of improving your physical structure so as to leave it in a better state than in which you found it.

The curious thing about this idea is that it makes the journey full-circle, having originally abandoned the concept of “daily goals” back to advocating it (for different reasons). Having gone from pure Ego and the setting goals for self, to dismissing this notion of self and thinking upon the world as a see of sameness prevailing through all existent things, consequently letting go of desires and the importance of dreams, to compassion for all existence, back to setting goals for the self.

The obvious difference is that the goals are set out of compassion (love) rather than out of desire (fear of not receiving).

I’ve been reading Fernando Pessoa

I have been enjoying his writings so much that I am going to switch to a new blog https://zepublicpessoa.wordpress.com/.

Pessoa has shown me that notes with no structure still make an entertaining story, although it does require the reader to take imaginative steps. Hardly a bad thing I am sure.

That blog will not have any structure, although I may reorder things if I ever learn how. I suspect it will feed into this blog with a little more structure and having been a little more polished.