THIS IS HERE! (or are you disappearing?)

disappearingThis is about “How to disappear completely” (in a good way).

Some people get the wrong idea about “disappearing.” As Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) saw it, reducing self interest leads to the “calm and confident serenity afforded by the virtuous disposition and a good conscience…” (Nineteenth Century Philosophy, p. 120).

Moreover, says Schopenhauer, “The egoist feels himself surrounded by strange and hostile phenomena and all his hope rests on his own well-being…”

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“The good person lives in a world of friendly phenomena… the knowledge that every living thing is just as much our own inner being-in-itself as is our own person, extends our interest to all that lives; and in this way the heart is enlarged” (p. 120).

enlarged heart

“Therefore, although the knowledge of the lot of man generally does not make his disposition a cheerful one,” writes Schopenhauer, “the permanent knowledge of his own inner nature in everything that lives nevertheless gives him a certain uniformity and even serenity of disposition” (p. 120).

And, as we all know, serenity is so enjoyable.

virtuous life
See the Virtuous life of Nick Otterman.

Serenity is freedom and tranquillity is lovely. It is time once again for all good philosophers to enjoy the lighter side of being.

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Existential Comics “Schopenhauer’s Mom”.

According to science, perceptions of time and motion depend upon the observer’s position. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, quantum mechanics, chaos theory and complexity theory all point to things being relative.

relative_failure_080514_1704If you’re a relativist, it’s not that things aren’t true one way over another, it’s just that, what’s true for you might depend upon context, laws of physics and your personal and cultural beliefs.

But for now, for the sake of something profundus—that’s Latin for “deep, boundless, and not bounded”—we set relativism and all other isms aside.

Imagine you are a marble trapped inside a three-dimensional box. 

You hover around inside this box. You see six walls and eight corners. If you move in any of the familiar dimensionsup/down, left/right and front/backyou hit a wall.

There is no escape.

marble in a cube

Now imagine your marble body “lifting” into the fourth dimension of time (as shown in ghostly red in the illustration). In this “lifting” your position remains unchanged. You don’t come near the walls. You simply elevate to a new three dimensional layer of the four dimensional space.

As you “lift” into the fourth dimension, you see your storied existence as if from a distance. You see the universe interconnecting.

This isn’t a shift to selflessnessthat is to say, you give of yourself and still see separation. This is the freedom to rest your face completely (even if it makes you look angry).

resting faceThis is a shift from first personI am living my life! We do things our way”and second personYou wait here”—to third personhe, she, it, they—with one’s self observed and observing.

From this perspective, everything is you. A child kills herselfthat’s you. Ducks in the parkthat’s you.

Begin perspective shift and self expansion (and we don’t mean a pig-out on Cheesies).

You are like a disembodied narrator describing. You can’t see through a character’s eyes, but you can imagine.

This awareness of your self as subjective and objective interconnected, pops the bubble of how you see the world.

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This is the realization that other people are as water-balloons floating in water. “I am who I am,” as someone once said. It’s a sentiment we have when we look in a mirror and think of Popeye.

This is the freedom to be what you are and will be.

Read the following instructions and then do them:

  1. Look around.
  2. Go for a walk without swinging your arms.
  3. Look at everything from the side of your eyes.
  4. Listen as if you hear something.
  5. Walk and look at the ground as if you’re 30,000 feet up above in an air-plane.
  6. Think to yourself, “This is me. This is me seeing. I see this. This, is what I see. I can see myself seeing.”

Shazam.

You shift from outside world and inside self separated to a world of here and now as perceived by the one perceiving. It is all of a thing. From a third person self-included perspective, you shift to a decentralized position. You see yourself and others as funny (in a nice way). What you see is seen and seeing

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Just as Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) shifted from Earth as centre to sun followed by NASA shifting from sun as centre to a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A-star! so too can you shift from yourself as centre in space and time to a decentralized position in an imagined fourth dimension. This shift is revolutionary and quite possibly could save the world (and probably will).

Like Mike Milligan said (Mike Milligan is a character in season 2 of Fargo), “Now, ironically, in astronomy, the word “revolution” means “a celestial object coming full circle. Did you know that? Which, if you think about it, is pretty funny, considering here on earth it means “change.”

This shift is an epiphany. From a first person perspective your life began and will end. All you really know is, “I am here,” but there are two ways to look at “I am here.”

The first way is to say that an individual person is located in a place called “here.” In this, you, as a self, experience the world as separate from your body.

The second way to look at it goes in the opposite direction. The statement, “I am here,” is a statement of fact. It means what it says. It means that “I am here,” Literally. It is to see yourself in what you’re seeing. “Here” is not just a location, but everything and you’re in and of it.

I am here,” is like saying, “I am Jimmy,” or “I am bored.”… I am here.

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This is the third person perspective. You switch from a world of “things” ‘out there’—positive shapes against a negative background from a single vantage point, that being, your body—to seeing the space between not as empty but as connecting. With this shift in awareness, you see yourself as the place you are seen in.

To loosen a knot one must trace a string’s path and slowly loosen things up. To loosen the knots of a befuddlement one must first be self-aware. Self-ignorance is a leading cause of unhappiness, insecurity and self-injury. (But no more.)

Today, with the resting-face of true freedom, we accept our lot in this life with humour and love for this story that we tell and are told has an ending.

References:

Nineteenth Century Philosophy

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7.3 Billion Ways To Enjoy the World

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Not a log. A pillow.

“Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup. They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe. Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind. Possessing and caressing me (John Lennon, Across the Universe).

paper cupLennon wrote the above after he’d been lying in bed next to his wife feeling irritated because she was going on and on about something. His irritation turned into a song about enjoying an opened mind (possibly inspired by an LSD flashback).

Most people who are not former Beatles would probably prefer something like a product, situation or activity to pools of sorrow and waves of joy.

Words in a paper cup just doesn’t cut it.

People are happiness seeking creatures. Drugs and distractions are big business. To the average person enjoyment is as easy as falling of a log. First you: A) Find something to enjoy, and then you, B) enjoy it.

itsjustthateasyGenerally, if you enjoy sports, you watch TV. If you enjoy video games, you plug one in. If you want to talk, you text and if you enjoy action, romance and thrills, you face a screen.

Reality is virtual.

Plato anticipated this in his allegory of the cave where slaves are chained to couches watching reflections of events (and eating cheese doodles), “while philosophers struggle up to the sunlight to see what’s really going on” (Tom Lewis, Living the American Dream is a Nightmare).

plato-caveIn a human world conflicted between Utilitarianism: “the doctrine that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct” (Google) and Individualism: “the pursuit of individual rather than common or collective interests; egoism” (Google), maybe we need to adjust our hedonistic calculus: “appraisal of possible alternative choices in terms of the amount of pleasure to be gained and pain to be avoided in each” (dictionary.com). 

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Dualism means separation.

Our problem is how we deal with reality. Since René Descartes said a person is a thinking thing, we’ve separated ourselves. Almost everything we do to make ourselves happy is outside reality.

brainWe’re so immersed in an ideology: “a system of ideas and ideals…” (Google) that if we step out of it, as Slavoy Zizek said, “it hurts…. the truth can shatter many of your illusions…You must be forced to be free. Freedom hurts” (Slavoy Zizek Explains Ideology).

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Real enjoyment.

What if it’s not a product or lifestyle that brings you enjoyment? What if enjoyment is an ability? Like when you feel sick, nothing is fun; if you’re not in the mood, then enjoyment won’t come. You need to make yourself enjoy, but can you cultivate an “enjoy ability”? 

Absolutely.

It’s outside. It is your ride to death.

chasing a busYou can be free to enjoy like a leaf on a tree. With awareness of yourself – not as a disembodied brain – but as a being-in-the world (Martin Heidegger).

Sarte uses the example of chasing a bus. You don’t think, “I am chasing a bus,” it’s just, “getting closer.” The sense of yourself disappears. Like an athlete you are in flow or as Professor Dreyfus says, “When you are absorbed in the moment, consciousness is gone. And self-consciousness, is really gone” (Is Consciousness an Illusion?).

cokeIf you live as a direct living being without self-thinking, “What’s in it for me?” marketers won’t like you. Big business depends on a trick: Convince people they need something to be happy like it says on a Coke bottle, “Open happiness.”

coffee cup garbageWriter Paulo Coelho wrote, “Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy.” In a search engine this quote has over six million results which begs the question: Why so many?

Is this a revelation? As if one day, people said,Do what makes me happy? Of course! What was I thinking?” 

What if the dream is a nightmare?

The Coelho quote appears on web sites like: “Every Day Feng Shui to Design Your Dream Life,” “50 Inspirational Career Quotes,” “15 Happiness Quotes to Inspire You to Live Your Best Life” and “40 Ways to Happiness.” (Numbered lists always make things better.)

Alexander Nazaryan of the Daily News said that Paulo Coelho “is the purveyor of “inspirational” schlock like “The Alchemist” that has somehow managed to fool millions, probably because there is so much that is rotten in the world and people will listen to anyone who will sell them bromides about making it all better. He is just Tony Robbins with a pen, nothing more” (The astounding stupidity of Paulo Coelho, 2012).

Ouch. Did Nazaryan even read “The Alchemist“? It’s easy to take shots. Occult symbolism aside, it’s a beautiful quick read. The point is not to trash and be divisive, but to have open eyes and awareness of the ideologies that may blind us. “I’m like everyone else – I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not that actually does” (The Alchemist, large print version, p. 53).opinion

People need comfort. They need enthusiasm. There is no separation between ourselves and the world around us. If 7.3 billion people (current population on Worldometers), did “whatever makes me happy,” what would happen?

debbie downerWe would see a world exploited and destroyed for profit… deforestation, industrialization, polluted water, sprawling cities, massive mines stripping landscapes and factories making garbage that’s out of control.

We all know the world is a mess. It’s complex. Lamenting and carping does no good. Stay calm. Love what’s important and enjoy what’s good. Start with a philosophy of enjoyment and a list.

5 Things a Being-in-the-World Can Do To Enjoy:

  1. howards end_blue 5
    A scene from Howard’s End.

    Be-in-the-world.

  2. Enjoy nature (Keep It Simple).
  3. Enjoy kindness & good humour.
  4. Enjoy not buying & giving.
  5. Enjoy tranquility (no noise, no machines, loving).

Now look around and ponder, “What’s on my list?”