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February 02, 2013

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Interesting post, but the question is whether the underlying assumption is correct, whether there is in fact some meaningful eternal source hidden beneath it all.

If the nature of reality is meaningless and without order, and we are evolved beings whose existence is pure random chance, then the question is whether our evolved minds are the cause of both our pleasure and pain, or our ultimate success or downfall as a species - could we all go crackers?

Whereas other lifeforms, of which we are aware on earth, just go about there conditioned existence by reacting to their environment to try survive, the human being has developed a brain that appears to have higher-level abilities involving not just conceptual abstract thought and planning, but also heightened powers of memory and emotion.

Along with heightened intelligence and memory, seems to also come heightened emotions such as love, hate, etc. And its often the emotions that seem to get the better of humans and seem to govern their behaviour, and possibly impel or drive us towards finding meaning or patterns (and religion). This inherent psychology, maybe an inherent by-product of our brains, and as a result the need to find pattern and meaning where there might be none (delusion).

And the more societies and cultures open up and liberates itself, the more liberal we become, it also seems the more anxious and neurotic we become.

Its almost as if the two choices to satisfy this inherent search for meaning are either:
- pursue some mystical path, which may create illusions to satisfy such desires, or
- come to terms with the possible meaningless of it all, without deteriating into utter debauchery.

"Its almost as if the two choices to satisfy this inherent search for meaning are either:
- pursue some mystical path, which may create illusions to satisfy such desires, or
- come to terms with the possible meaningless of it all, without deteriorating into utter debauchery."

The mental debauchery of coming to meaningful terms with meaninglessness can be a gratifying, worthwhile pursuit of redeeming social value.

George, nicely said. You and Alan Watts are pretty much on the same page. He too talks about how our evolved capacity to abstract and think about the world both increases our sensitivity to reality, and our sensitivity to being hurt by it -- through anxieties, worries, fears of the future, ruminating about the past, etc., etc.

Living in the present as much as possible is one solution offered up. It's been a while since I read The Wisdom of Insecurity. Can't remember exactly how Watts looks upon other ways of dealing with the human condition. I'll know/remember more in a few chapters.

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