This insight seized me in the shower this morning: Homo sapiens is an experiment in consciousness that is failing. Why are we failing, and can we stop?
The vaunted victory of capitalism has enshrined selfishness and greed on a global scale. On the other hand, the inevitable failure of communism arose from the denial of the individual.
The individual matters, not as the fundamental unit of capitalism and consumerism, or even so-called democracy, but because the freedom and creative potential of the individual is sine qua non of humanity.
Unlike words like "unpack" and "problematic," two philosophical terms that have become commonplace to the point of meaninglessness, there's an old Latin term that's not likely become a commonplace---sine qua non. It literally means 'without which, not.' That is, "an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary."
Right observation is the sine qua non of right living, true relationship, and growing as a human being.
Speaking personally, I'm at once strongly contemplative, philosophical and political. These are three distinct but overlapping aspects of my nature. I've found a rough balance between the inner life and the intellectual life, but the political animal remains...problematic.
Essentially, I'm trying to combine vita contemplativa and vita activa (the contemplative life and the active life) within myself in a harmonious way.
However, can anyone live in this world as a true human being? Humankind continues to plunge toward the abyss, but I'm giving a contemplative political strategy one last attempt in my lifetime.
As regular readers know, I feel the original and ongoing 'sin' (that is, mistake) is the psychologically infinite regress of thought in the form of the observer/self that separates us from the Earth, each other, and immanence (God if you like).
With respect to this first principle, a friend asks, "Are you talking about a state where the brain reaches a place of total superiority where it acts and thinks on its own without the conscious presence of the "observer" or person?"
I'm talking about a state in which the fictitious observer simply ends, and the brain is simply observing, without the filter of the operating program of the observer that judges, chooses and interprets.
When the observer ends, the brain is just observing things as they are in the moment. The person is still there, though not in terms of 'me'. There is no sense of superiority, simply an ending of the false and fictitious conditioning of the separate observer and self. The brain doesn't assume some kind of privileged position; it simply operates correctly.
At present our brains operate incorrectly, because psychological separation and the tribalism of nationalism still rule us. It remains a mystery to me why that is so, and why nature would place such a high bar for awakening in purportedly self-aware creatures.
Mouthpieces of darkness moronically propose more of the disease as cure, uttering such treasonous trash against humanity as: "All we have to do is live up to this privilege of being American...because a million immigrant ancestors left it for us by suffering for it, by dying for the American Creed."
That's the sound of an ideology in its death throes. For those who are serious about meeting the human crisis, the ending of the observer is the place to begin, and it can happen every day within one.
Observing without the observer is not too difficult. A person just has to take half hour a day to passively watch the movement of their thoughts and emotions as a single movement in the mirror of nature, without any judgment, interference or interpretation.
This caliber of watching allows awareness to grow quicker than the infinite regression of the observer, and the very act of attention ends the observer. Can you do it? I feel anyone can, and that it needs to be taught and shown by example to children. Then they will not become conditioned as Americans or any other divisive thing.
My friend asks, "I'm curious to know what the benefits of this would provide as opposed to not reaching this state?"
That's a strange question to my mind! Look how humans are destroying the earth and each other through division, conflict, greed and fragmentation. The ultimate source of man's disorder is the observer/self that separates and thinks first and last of itself.
Thus the negation in methodless meditation of psychological separation is essential to heal the individual, and change the disastrous course of humankind.
I realize it is paradox, though hopefully not a contradiction, to attempt to convey in words that which is only possible when one lets go of words completely. Playfully experiment with attention!
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. email@example.com
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