Friday, February 19, 2010

Anecdotal Philosophy

The source of misunderstanding is ignorance. What we don't know, about ourselves, about each other, about the wider world is where good intentions meet harmful actions.

Lao Tzu says, "The highest good, like water, benefits many things, yet occupies dark places men despise." It is within these spaces that one must travel, outside of one's self, beyond preconceptions, beyond defensiveness, beyond even pity to the very depths of the water -- be it the ocean floor or trapped between the earth -- and there you will find the vent bubbling forth with boiling heat, like fear, like hatred, like rage.

OSC says, "Everyone who says they have no religious beliefs is just so certain about their belief that they accept it as truth. If you start asking probing questions, and they start getting mad, then you've found their religion." Some of us assume we are compassionate and unbiased. Some of us pretend indifference or neutrality. Some of us like to think a lot of things about ourselves, and yet, when challenged, we reveal our true selves in the reaction to that push against our own foundation of identity.

How precarious we humans are. Capricious. Fickle. Stubborn only in the sense that every form of life is stubborn -- to live, to breath -- but otherwise changeable as a pair of pants. Our personality changes with our mood, with the surrounding company, and often with our mere reflection in the mirror. We can't seem to stay as we are, or if we do, it is for the worst, for the negative aspects that congeal over time into a hardened evil. The good seems to dissipate like mist, and wears out with growing up.

Logic should be our tool, and honesty our modus operandi.

When I philosophize like this, it wears me down. The answers often seem obvious, but their implementation are complicated. Simplicity is deceiving. The truth is not truth, but some form of opinion. The lies are not lies, but somehow reality.

There are people who do not understand anything, and they are considered intelligent. There are people who understand the fundamental revelations, and they are considered fools. Socrates says, "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." The wise man is defined by his wisdom, which cannot be knowledge, nor can it be intelligence, yet somehow contains the qualities of these encapsulated in... experience.

The wise man is not bearded and gray. The wise man is not wrinkled or fraught with age. The wise man is one who has lived, and by living knows a path in life.

Somehow, I find comfort in my knowing nothing, in the combination of ignorance with enlightenment, in the small grasp of my flawed hands, gnarled like the roots of an old tree, but stronger than their appearance.

Somehow, I find solace in my solitude.

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