Something that I’ve been thinking about it for sometime is an idea I call the left and right lateral limit. The left limit is a persons subjective idea of what horrible pain is and the right is pleasure (or happiness).
The pain threshold is subjective and as we, the human species, have evolved and conquered the external world our idea of what pain is changes; we experience less physical pain than a life several hundred and even thousand years ago.
As this occurs the entire spectrum of this left and right lateral limit shifts. Yesterday’s scrape become today’s ER visit. Yesterday’s bigot joke is today’s outrage.
Why wouldn’t wouldn’t we expect this as we pad the external world. In some regard these are consequences of an ever more civilized society.
Some might argue this isn’t civilizing. I say these new virtues are more extreme examples of past virtues . A major difference is in the past we had an extremely unforbidding environment to counter the virtues and to teach us.
With that environment gone we must self regulate this left and right lateral limit otherwise it spins out of control. However, since this isn’t natural human behavior so evolved behavior wins out (it’s easier to go with human behavior than regulate it). Thus we see today it playing out in a very vocal minority (growing).
It seems like:
The depth of the habit or problem we are trying to fix/change will be met with the direct inverse in suffering (pain). When did we become so delusional that it would be all sunshine and rainbows for becoming anew? I’m not sure to what extent we realize our life is pretty close to pure habit.
If it wasn’t why is it so hard to keep our promises to ourselves? Ok, I’ll never eat sugar again, or tomorrow I’ll start (x) but we don’t and then suffering for not doing the set out task and our inner voice is slightly weaker (This is a slow process so we don’t see the change). Even as we succeed suffering takes place because the old way is there beckoning for us, for its return so we fight but we get tired because the pain is to much: Its to hard.
My son is 6 years old and his teacher uses this app called class dojo and basically its a up to the minute report of positive and negative things that happen during the day. We encourage Alex to get 100%. Each day he leaves wanting 100% but then enviably he ends up falling short by not following directions, or other little infractions.
I asked him why doesn’t he just follow directions or not yell out in class? It seriously melted my heart when he said, “Pap, I try but it’s so hard.” I deeply understood what he meant. I laughed and rubbed his back and said, “Yeah, I know.”
For us adults what does this mean? What is hard? This, in my estimation, begs the questions if we truly are in control of ourselves why would it be hard? This is a delusion of the mind. We are not in control our habits are we can use our awareness to help direct our actions and behaviors. Then I ask myself what is the lessor or better form of suffering? I feel it is the suffering from achieving rather than failure so this shows me how important it is for me to show my son in action, discipline and encouragement to build these in his life so he can be a functional, productive, purpose driven, happen human being. This same thing applies to me but I must be the role model…. Enough for now as it is time for practice.
1) Placing inordinate emphasis on the most trivial matters by reacting to shallow momentary emotional spasms are not the best grounds for developing any sort of deeper fulfillment in life and leads one to continual momentary dissatisfaction.
2) I say explore life’s deeper values and exercise the governance (not blind governance) of all deeper values in ones life while rejecting the shallow emotional reactions. Just the starting point to any sort of meaningful life: practice.
3) Balance and moderation in all things is an art: habit.
This year was supposed to the year I meditated every day but a little while ago I just stopped. Why was I meditating in the first place? Well to to solve a problem of course. So often in life it seems like I do something to “fix” a problem. Seeking to fix; I was trying to fix me. For I am nothing but a broken vessel, right? Well I am and I’m ok with that. What is a problem? Just like the idea of a weed, my problem/s and the weed are completely dependent upon how I frame the situation. It is easy for me to say these things but its entirely different to really feel this ok-ness deeply. This year it feels like I’ve really made a big step in understanding despite stepping away. I still get mad, angry, upset, and I still have an attachment to particular emotions but I’m ok with these things. I see all these feelings and emotions coming and going within but I’m also fully involved; kind of hard to describe, but anyway. I’ve since picked up meditation again but doing so feels different. This understanding is at a slightly different, deeper, level than before, and it also seems to be ever changing, shifting and moving as I grow. I think I’m on my 4th year of pretty consistent meditating and I would like to go on a month long sometime in the coming years. Just getting my thoughts out there.
Take away intent, meaning or point
You take away a mans (woman or zers)
Meaning to be.
It’s the over complication
To be more than it has or needs to be
For if we look deeply
We see the person that is in front of me
Them, you or me needs to be
The person we set out to be
Nothing but me
What does this even mean?
Can we even comprehend
If we cannot see ourselves honestly?
Unfortunately this is where the disconnect
Between them, you and me is what I see
We miss the unity
Because once I know and understand the person in the mirror
Nothing but a brother stands in the world I see
And there is only unity
Symbolic gestures are part of who we are
But more deeply it is what lies in a persons heart.
I am not a poet, as you can see, nor am I even good at writing poems. I usually right whats on my mind as a way of helping me articulate and deepen my thinking and thought process. The above is sort of in response to some things I have noticed and the best way I know how to point as what I think is a root problem in our country is.
I would describe myself as a classical liberal (look up what this means because it is totally different than the modern term liberal) and I emphasize duty and personal responsibility. I have come to this point of view through meditative practices (understanding my minds conditions) and the studying of various schools of philosophical thought as well as a belief in the scientific method.
Orientation without attachment.
Has the value we’ve place on individualism actually made us less happy and view the world with more contempt?
Has this value actually made us more isolated and brought forth a bounty of depression, anxiety and suicides?
Has this value divided our relationships, our family and our communities?
Has this value been a contributor to all the polarization that we’ve been seeing in our country?
His this value made us indifferent to those around us because it is all about me, the individual? “Fuck you! Do you know what you did to me?”
Has this value caused us to place excessive emphasis on feelings/our own feelings?
Has this value eroded other values such as free speech?
Is it this value that has been caused the breakdown of the more wholesome societal norms?
Is it even ok for me to even question such a thing without being branded and labeled as some sort of collective extremist?
Ok, I really need some help here with this thought.
Yesterday I was thinking what is a probability? Do probabilities really exist? The famous slit experiment shows that light is both a wave and a partial and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics says that it will remain in a probabilistic state until its observed, which is what the slit experiment verifies. Schrodinger’s thought experiment points to the paradox of this to reality (Schrodinger’s cat). Something is not in a probabilistic state, it is either is or isn’t. I know these are excessively simple explanations and if you want to learn more hop on youtube or a good book on the subject is: The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
I need some help with this thought, so I see both views as correct. Life cannot exist in a state that has happened but our current moment is the state of completion. If this probabilistic state did not exist everything would be over, period. It would be this “on” followed by an intimidate “off”. To me it seems unfathomable how quickly the entire birth and death of of our universe would occur. The entire process would be over the exact moment it began, liken it to never existing. So we open the box and the cat is alive (or dead for the more morbid:) ) it cannot exist in a probabilistic: something either is or isn’t but there is a cat and we are here. Let me try one more illustration, as I am driving I will either turn left or go straight (going right isn’t an option) now this is undetermined until I do, or make up my mind and before then it is impossible to know what will occur. We can make very accurate educated guess using the latest scientific equipment and our understanding in human behavior but in the end it either is or isn’t, it happens or it doesn’t. There isn’t such a thing as probably turning after or as it occurs. Where does this state exist then? We know it does from personal experience and through scientific observation.
Let us shrink the moment I made up my mind to turn to the smallest moment of time our measly minds can comprehend, I believe this illustration points to something. I am thinking it points to consciousness itself the ‘now’ as it occurs, or the slightest moment before it occurs. This space seems so small. So small in fact that it seems to both exist and not exist simultaneously. Our consciousness is this slightest moment or bridge between or maybe, in other words, our consciousness is the probabilistic state itself (the thing we call life) but we can only see the completed state. I’m not quite sure how else to explain it which is why I need some help. So I wouldn’t mind ideas to help formulate this thought (perhaps this really is an old thought and has been discussed many times before) or you can tell me how whacked I am.
One day a fox fell into the cauldron of a dyer and came out a beautiful blue color. When he returned to the country, the other animals, not recognizing him, took him for a divine being and showed him the greatest marks of respect, to the point that he was soon made king of beasts. One full moon while the fox sat proudly in his court, other foxes began to yelp in the distance. Unfortunately, the blue king could not help but yelp too. Unmasked, the impostor had barely time to flee to save his life. — Taken from the footnote at the bottom of page 234 in On the Path to Enlightenment
I wanted to quickly take a moment to address the journalist in episode #60, a critic, for which I know your response is crickets chirping. The problem with the journalist, and many other critics, is minimalism doesn’t fit their narrative as to what the problem actually is. Additionally, the degree to which they believe in their narrative and the degree to which they accept your message is the degree to which they have to admit they are wrong. This is a tough pill to swallow when your identity is deeply embedded in your world view. Here is an interesting article regarding : Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence.
You have done a superfluous job at staying out, and I would argue above, the political arena and the reason being is simple. You have kept your message fixated on what you value and intentional by cutting out the excess, all with razor precision which is exactly what minimalism is about. Ryan alluded to this in the podcast as well. Thanks guys for all your hard work and the message you bring forth; keep up the great work!