Sunday, October 25, 2009

perle de sagesse

This resonated with me when I read it over at Dr. Vallicella's blog a few minutes ago:

Human reality is an ever-shifting play of perspectives and evaluations and, insofar forth, bare of ultimate reality and so not to be taken with utmost seriousness. All wisdom traditions teach the need of detachment or non-attachment. You are grasping at straws and chasing after shadows if you seek your ultimate reality in the broken mirrors of others' subjectivity. And your mirror is broken too.

Merken Sie gut! Human reality shouldn't be taken seriously, but ultimate reality should. This goes doubly for members of "shame" cultures throughout the world: people in those cultures put too much stock in status and prestige, measuring their worth by where they stand among their fellows. Such people view honor as something contingent upon what others think, instead of linking it to the pan-cultural notion of integrity: the idea that inside and outside should evince a harmonious correspondence-- thought, word, and deed all working together.


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1 comment:

Paul said...

I don't know if it's worth the energy to try and take "ultimate reality" seriously. Why?

Because (I believe) it's essentially impossible for us to see, comprehend, and understand. For us, it basically doesn't exist.

If we cannot truly know it, then it follows that all we'll ever know is some subjective form of reality- and if that's the case, and (as you say) we should take that with a grain of salt (which I agree with!) then is there really any point in getting TOO overly serious with the search or notion?

It seems to me that the biggest jerks in the world always take ultimate reality far, far too seriously... or at least they take their own declarations about it too seriously.

The most mellow guys in the world, on the other hand, the holy men, are willing to make their declarations about ultimate reality. They do seem to have a grasp on it.

But they also seem to have a sense of humor, they're non-judgemental, and you almost always get the sense (when reading or hearing about them) that if you disagreed with them about ultimate reality, they'd still be perfectly happy having you hang with them, and they'd be gracious and kind and caring anyway.

This probably explains why the David Koreshes of the world wind up discredited and with nobody ever following them, and the Jesuses and Buddhas wind up with hundreds of millions of people following and living their teachings, thousands of years later.

Thus, a pretty good criteria for deciding whether some particular religious leader is worth listening to is whether or not they take themselves and "ultimate reality" too seriously.

The pompous ones with sticks up their butts? Don't give them the time of day. The kindly ones who maybe have very firm ideas on what's right/wrong but who treat everyone (whether believer or not) kindly and who don't act as though their poop doesn't stink? Pay attention to those guys- they're on to something!