Saturday, January 23, 2016

End of desire

The end of desire, aka, not desiring anything, could be a useful condition. We would not desire food for example. We would not desire anything that currently drives us into a state of urgent action most days of our working life. The removal of desire, the quieting of our conscious and subconscious minds is the central objective of Buddhist meditation. They lead us to believe that the desire for food is entirely mental. That is not true, the desire for food has a physical bass for many of us. That is a problem.

The end of desire allows the feeling of urgent action to die out, and we become the authentic human begin we are. Maybe. But can an active alert person, with a sense of urgency, put up with a authentic human being? Unmotivated, except in a narrow field, authentic person? But I am retired now, so why should I care. 

Letting go of desire is a process that the Buddhist have developed, it is a letting go, setting down of desire, of active thought, and becoming one with the present moment, to achieve peace with all that is. It seems to me that a few of the population can be like this, and hold that information. A society could not survive, being 100% small raft Buddhists. At it's height in Tibet, perhaps 30% was all that it could acheive, living the cloistered life in monasteries.

Letting go of desire is one of the items that the Stoics advise, at least some desires. Fame, fortune, power, and all those things we have no power over, Epictetus suggest, should be put aside. Epicures went further, with politics, family, business beyond necessary. We need to be self sufficient, self reliant, with some of a long list of virtues, and live with minimal "stuff". OK, that worked when there was little, but is that practical advice today?

Do I need a bigger social footprint, or a smaller more specific footprint? What does that even mean? Do I need to limit my attachment to fewer ideas and fewer people? Do I need to stop having concern for those who do not follow the same ideology, more or less that I do? But then, each meme is independent, so how does this matrix fit together? Does any of this matter? Each ideology has its strong and weak points. Without understanding the culture, environment, and society they evolved in, and what the problems were addressed by each religion or ideology, it is difficult to make sense of it all. 

So what does this all have to do with stillness of the mind; the no self concept, the emptiness or no purpose concept, the impermanence continual change concept, some thing are up to us, some are not concept? How does all this fit into modern life? All we need to do is end desire, and live in the present moment,  do that  which benefits ourselves and all people, without harming anyone, and treat other people as we would like to be treated.

To do that we need to be free to lay out our concepts freely, and to be there for all to pick up, if they desire it enough. So no desires, are for those who have achieved nirvana and death.  


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