Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Self loathing

I was reading a brief commentary by Jack Kornfield on how amazed visiting Buddhist teachers were at the pervasiveness of self loathing/ hate among Western students. This feeling--which feels a bit like a continual intrapsychic attack for me, a stream of pain I cannot escape which seems related to shame--warrants sociological analysis.

In a society like our own, where normative standards of behavior have largely rejected, where "doing your own thing" constitutes a value of sorts--it is hard to attain a sense of dignity and personal honor and self respect. It is certainly true that the pressure to conform is creatively limiting in many ways, but what it does grant are clear standards which, having been attained, enable and foster self respect and a sense of honor and belonging.

Conversely, it seems obvious that where no clear standards exist, they must be invented within a dub-group--Leftism being the most obvious but certainly not only example--and where they neither exist in a group, and cannot be plausibly invented as personal myths by the individual--there must be a residual sense of isolation and disconnection which, from clear biological roots, must be felt as a latent or explicit sense of shame, for "crimes" unknown, uncontemplated, and certainly never committed.

We need myth, which I might here define as unchanging, deeply held, ideas about the nature of how to live, and modern Science really doesn't see this. Science is a marvelous system for description, and for building useful things.

But what we really need is something prescriptive. We have that, of course, in psychology to some extent, in the interesting notion of "mental health", which is defined quite narrowly compared to most other cultures.

But I co ti he to believe that any foundation built on anything but incorporating God, Connectedness, and an honest treatment of the soul as something which survived the death of the body, will be futile. Projects without these elements need to be built on self deception or cynical pessimism.

I also continue to believe it most useful--and, of course, I hope most accurate--to view humanity as at the BEGINNING of the interesting and generative phase of its existence, and not as a somnolent dying last glimmer of a failed idea.

And I would add that the so-called Singularity--even if it proves technically possible, which I very much doubt, since I think the locus of consciousness lies outside the brain--is no solution at all as to the point and purpose of life. Will human/machine hybrids love more deeply? Is that even a question being asked?  Will the great thrill of connection with Life as a whole be somehow more likely if one merely gains the ability to recite all of Shakespeare easily?

Few thought. I do t feel like working, so I am doing this. Back now to my ladder.

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