Monday, July 24, 2006

The Real and the Imagined

All of it, all of it, all of it, all religion and philosophy seems to be the tug between the material and the imagining that we are not material.

Now I have no idea what we are. A puppet show for Zeus? Highly evolved plankton? Aliens living in a war torn Matrix? Whatever.

But it does seem true that human beings are very sad that they are material entities who must one day cease to exist. And so, all these ideologies are invented in order to placate the pain of being temporary.

And what seems to be the mental construct that hits the center of this problem is a denial of the material. If the material world is denied, then one cannot be so upset if one is no longer in it one day. Religion certainly does this. It seems to want to deny the material world for some made up situation at the end. But as we all know, pushing an idea away only makes it stronger, so in the end, very religious people become extremely attached to real things, like land.

Extreme intellectuals try to deny the material, getting lost in a world of abstract thinking. This can only lead to anxiety, since the body does want to live a material existence. And usually, the person trapped in his own mind tries to use his thoughts to control others to do his bidding. Material bidding.

The human animal is a driven beast. Territorial. Competitive. Hungry. And all attempts to quash these drives, to deny our material nature, ends up causing ourselves and everyone around us so much pain. And certainly, by denying others their drives, by saying they do not deserve to have their needs met, like the poor or like others who don’t act and behave American, then, nothing but earthly conflict can ensue.

So, one must accept the material world. The material self. And live it. And to accept that life is material for others, too. And to not worry about the end of your particular living body. And to not worry so much about what you own, but to own just enough so that you aren’t miserable. And to hope that others own enough and have enough so they aren’t miserable either. And to stop imaging that one is so much more than an earthbound animal, albeit it, one with a sense of decorum.

The world is material. One must stop denying this. One must take care of the world. One must acknowledge that each individual is grabbing their own goods for their own use. But we can remind each other that each person needs a sense of proportion. And finally, one must understand that life is temporary, for sure, and nothing can be done about that. So, no need to worry, no need for all these religious and other alienating constructs. You weren’t here one hundred years ago, you didn’t worry about not being alive then.

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