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Zhachev posted a topic in The Rabbit HoleDo I have the ability to act on the world to add, change, or stop certain phenomena? Or am I completely a victim of circumstances and forces larger than myself?
Ram Dass once said something, somewhere to the effect that we need to have one "me" watching all the other "me's". Does anyone else often feel that their concept of "self" is indeed fractured into many, many, many different selves that show up at different times? In my instance, there is the lazy me, the productive me, the heartless me, the generous me, the greedy me, the angry me, the sad me, the self-absorbed me, the kindhearted me, the homosexual me, the heterosexual me, the depressed me, the elated me, the caring me, the apathetic me, the me that finds meaning in everything and at the same time meaning in nothing, the me that is a dreamer and the me that is a realist. I am disturbed when I recognize selves that do not seem to come from a completely pure source, for instance self-absorption or vanity. i have struggled with feelings of bisexuality and didn't understand where any of it came from. But I don't know whether it is right to deem them as completely evil and needed purged, or whether to indulge them when appropriate and as balanced by other more heartful acts. I had a teacher once who told me the secret was integration, not destruction. any thoughts? thanks and peace
Here is part of the very interesting dialogue on immortality by Schopenhauer. Deep down this is basically what all traditional religions teach. Student —Look here, I shalln’t give two pence for your immortality unless I’m to remain an individual. Philosopher —Well, perhaps I may be able to satisfy you on this point. Suppose I guarantee you that after death you shall remain an individual but only on condition that you first spend three months of complete unconsciousness. Student —I shall have no objection to that. Philosopher —But, remember, if people are completely unconscious, they take no account of time. So, when you are dead, it’s all the same to you whether three months pass in the world of unconsciousness, or ten thousand years. In one case as in the other, it is simply a matter of believing what is told you, when awake. So far then you can afford to be indifferent whether it is three months or ten thousand years that pass before you recover your individuality. Student —Yes; if it comes to that, I suppose you are right. Philosopher —And if by chance, after those ten thousand years gone by, no one ever thinks of awakening you, I fancy it would be a great misfortune. You would have become quite accustomed to non-existence after so long a spell of it—following upon such a very few years of life. At any rate you may be sure you would be perfectly ignorant of the whole thing. Further, if you knew that the mysterious power which keeps you in your present state of life had never once ceased in those ten thousand years to bring forth other phenomena like yourself, and to endow them with life, it would fully console you. Student —Indeed! So you think that you’re quietly going to do me out of my individuality with all this fine talk. But I’m open to your tricks. I tell you I won’t exist unless I can have my individuality, I’m not going to put off with ‘mysterious powers’, and what you call ‘phenomena’ I can’t do without my individuality, and I won’t give up. Philosopher —You mean, I suppose, that your individuality is such a delightful thing—so splendid, so perfect, and beyond comparison—that you can’t imagine anything better. Aren’t you ready to exchange your present state for one which if we can judge by what is told us, may possibly be superior and more endurable. Student —Don’t you see that my individuality, be it what it may, is my very self? To me it is the most important thing in the world. “For God is God and I am I”. I want to exist, I, I. That’s the main thing. I don’t care about existence which has to be proved to be mine before I can believe it. Philosopher —Think what you’re doing. When you say, I, I, I want to exist, is it not you alone that say this? Everything says it, absolutely everything that has the faintest trace of consciousness. It follows then, that this desire of yours is just the part of you that is not individual—the part that is common to all things without distinction. It is the cry not of the individual, but of existence itself; it is the intrinsic element in everything that exists, nay, it is the cause of anything existing at all. This desire craves for and so is satisfied with nothing less than existence in general—not any definite individual existence. No! that is not its aim. It seems to be so only because this desire will attain consciousness only in the individual, and therefore looks as though it were concerned with nothing but the individual. There lies the illusion, an illusion it is true, in which the individual is held fast, but if he reflects, he can break the fetters and set himself free. It is only indirectly, I say, that the individual has this violent craving for existence. It is the will to live which is the real and direct aspirant—alike and identical in all things. Since then, existence is the free work, nay, the mere reflection of the will; where existence is, there too must be a will; and for the moment, the will finds its satisfaction in existence itself, so far, I mean, as that which never rests, but presses forward eternally, can ever find any satisfaction at all. The will is careless of the individual, the individual is not its business; although I have said, this seems to be the case, because the individual has no direct consciousness of will except in himself. The effect of this is to make the individual careful to maintain his own existence; and if this were not so, there would be no surety of preservation of species. From all this it is clear that individuality is not a form of perfection, but rather of limitation; and so to be freed from it is not loss but gain. Trouble yourself no more about the matter. Once thoroughly recognise what you are, what your existence really is, namely, the universal Will-to-live, and the whole question will seem to you childish and most ridiculous.