Following millennia of Human suffering and conflict despite all fervent pleas for peace and harmony; with the continuing abuse and neglect of children, the fragile wellspring of Human evolution; under the incessant and willful suppression of truth in favor of self-serving ideology; with little advance in the reverence for life or the delicate equilibrium it requires, and the rampant bloom of Human life with its insatiable wants and the looming prospect of its collapse; and all this proceeding from your individual perception of reality; it's time to get straight to the point:
You are insane!
Honestly, by the definition you invented:
in a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill.
(Definitions from Apple Dictionary)
What's so funny about the lunacy of insisting that reality conform to personal wishes?
Or are you incredulous? "Not true!" you're thinking?
Look around you. See what your person and your kind are doing to each other and the planet that's created your existence –– all in the pursuit of personal wishes. Can you honestly claim as sane a sentient form of life that so readily precipitates its self-ruin?
You say "I'm not one of the bad ones." But can you sincerely pretend that you have not played a role, no matter how small, in the spread of misery, conflict, the impairment of life? Of your own life, someone close that you've hurt, someone unknown to you who will inherit the consequences of your choices long after you're gone? Or some other form of life losing its place in existence so you, apathetic to all but your own needs, may exist in comfort?
Perhaps you're offended now. “These words are harsh and judgmental –– and not helpful.” Does an uncomfortable truth not belong in your comfortable world view?
Well –– yes, these words are harsh, and applying your own definition of insanity to you may be offensive –– but mind, where is your honesty? Truthfully, how well are you getting along with reality? How do you decide what portion of it is acceptable? what truth is tolerable or not? Sincerely, how is it that you enable your person to indulge or overlook so much misperception and harmful behavior or social interaction?
Honesty requires recognition of the truth, and harsh as the reality of it may be, you Human mind, aren't particularly adept at discerning truthfulness. Which is to say your grasp of reality is questionable –– even as it is so cherished.
Your word for this condition:
delusion |diˈloō zh ən|
an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
Do you perceive the delusion behind your mental disorder? Likely no, as it wouldn't be a delusion if you did. Admittedly, self-delusion is notoriously difficult to recognize or remedy in that it is so firmly maintained; but isn't it you, idiosyncratic mind, that would be so stubborn?
Though it may not initially be willful, your self-delusion arises with the mistaken impression “Reality is as I conceive it” –– not recognizing that a conceived reality can't actually exist. Under this conviction you confuse what you think reality is, or think it could or should be, with what you and your person actually experience, and pretend these are one and the same. Simply, you fail to distinguish the conceived from the perceived.
The crucial problem here is that the conceived isn't real, and never can be, yet, preserving the belief that it is, you come to prefer it over the perceived, and both initiate and justify your person's behavior with misconceptions –– then quite literally suffer the consequences.
Here's how it unfolds:
The correctly perceived is the only actual reality you have access to, but you correctly perceive that this isn't the whole picture, which you find unnerving, so you fill in as much of the unknown as you can with concepts of what reality may be, wagering that your concepts are accurate and truthful; i.e. realistic. And often they are –– easing your discomfort with the unknown, but encouraging the incorrect impression, the delusion, that concepts are a reliable substitute for actual reality.
“But they are reliable” you say. “My conceptual understanding of reality serves me quite well –– or well enough to get by –– most of the time.” Is this sufficient, Human mind? If your purpose, presumably, is to understand reality, is “realistic enough to get by” enough to justify reality's experiment in your existence?
Mind, how can the realistic, no matter how realistic, be real? Do you understand the difference between these words? A representation of anything could never be the thing itself. What sort of substitute is a realistic painting for the actual scene being depicted? Your conceptions of reality paint just such a picture. But is your conceptual canvas, captivating as it may be, blocking your view of what could be directly, and possibly correctly or more truthfully, perceived?
What portion of a realistic concept taken for fact is delusional? The whole thing? What portion of any concept represents the reality you have yet to perceive correctly? None of it?
Unconcerned with answering this sort of question, betting on the realism of concepts, you gamble that the de facto and continuous unfolding of reality will consistently match your conceptual painting of it. Again, quite often it does –– for which you then take credit –– equating a successful wager with foreknowledge of the outcome. Winning the bet of course feels good and encourages more speculation, but deepens the delusion that a conceptual modeling of reality is the only or best way to relate to it.
The charade is revealed though when you lose the bet –– when reality doesn't match your conceptually based expectations. But rather than simply admit your mental portrayal of reality is ineptly rendered, and set about the effort to improve it, you fault reality! –– placing yourself in direct conflict with it –– and proving your psychosis.
Insisting reality conform to what it isn't, you are compelled to resent it's conditions; then you most willfully but blindly set about the attempt to manipulate the reality you experience to match the non-existent one you desire –– with all the inevitable discontent, strife, and unintended consequences; which is to say the unexpected repercussions that result from actions undertaken with an errant understanding of reality. These undesired repercussions become fresh contrary conditions that you resent, and so on –– perpetuating the cycle of your insanity and suffering.
And so goes the Human mind's self-deluding conflict with reality; which, when you examine the issue honestly, is the basis of all Human psychological misery, neurosis, misapprehension, bias, prejudice, discord, feuding, and warring –– not to mention the origin of all anthropogenic blowback –– the individual and collective Human incompatibility with its habitat, i.e. The Earth.
Wouldn't this be a good working definition of mental illness?:
dysfunctional behavior based on the mental construct that actual reality should conform to a marginally realistic mental construct of it.
How about this actual definition:
schizophrenia |ˌskitsəˈfrēnēə; -ˈfrenēə|
a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
Like the fragmentation of self-awareness? (the self aware of the self) Or dualistic thinking? (the real and unreal) So which self are you? Where is the reality in the unreal-ness of anything?
You so readily apply this definition to some poor soul who meets the clinical criteria, but what Doctor of Human Nature wouldn't honestly diagnose the normal Human mind as schizophrenic? if just a little higher on the spectrum?
Human mind, if you must delude yourself to pretend to sanity, how will you ever find the real thing?
How to make reality laugh:
Tell it what you think it is...
Then as much as you persist, foolish mind, it will dope slap you.
It would be funny if it weren't so tragic. The suffering you endure from your insanity, individually and collectively, is heartbreaking. And all the more so because, but for a delusional posture, you would be of sound mind.
You were born sane. You enjoyed sanity in your childhood and lost it slowly as you developed the conceptual identity and world view that helps you cope within an insane Human world; or lost it quickly if insane adults traumatized your developing relationship with reality –– forcing you to inhabit an ideated world that feels safer than the one you were born into. And even as an adult mind you still have moments of sanity –– those circumstances when reality is so powerful you become lucid: when reality won't let you delude yourself; when you can't, for the moment, pretend you exist separate from it; when you are genuinely listening with a mind to seek understanding rather than to already possess it.
These lucid moments when you are directly engaged with reality needn't be so rare. All that is required to begin a return to sanity and truthfulness is a shift in your attitude toward reality:
a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior.
Not so much your person's, but your behavior, Human mind, is the issue here. Are you paying any attention to it? It is through your attitude, your settled way of thinking, that you so firmly maintain your delusion that you are the authority on reality –– that the picture of reality you invent and self-promote is better than actual reality. Are you even aware that you affect this posture? Aware or not, it's an unreasonable attitude –– and most surely arrogant and hypocritical –– other words you may find offensive when applied to yourself. But what of using the gift of consciousness to pretend to authority on consciousness isn't arrogance? And what of judging reality to be inadequate from within it isn't hypocrisy? Just like insane or delusional, your reluctance to correctly perceive the truth of your condition is what makes these words so applicable –– and so surely perpetuates your dysfunctional condition.
The only means to dispel a delusion is to recognize it as such; and an attitude shift can facilitate this. Abandon the hubris of “I'm the decider of reality” for one of respect and appreciation: “I wouldn't exist but for reality. How could I better understand it so I could help my person better function within it?” After all, in what other than actual reality do you and your person exist and function? What better teacher of truth could you hope to find?
A more open and flexible attitude gives you a chance to correct the fundamental delusion that initiates your insanity –– “Reality is as I conceive it” –– to something closer to the truth: “I am as reality conceives me. What wonder could that be?”
This is a realistic attitude:
1 having or showing a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected.
2 representing familiar things in a way that is accurate or true to life.
Presumptuous mind, can you apply sense 1 of this meaning to your role in consciousness, rather than pretend you are such an expert in sense 2? You would be much wiser to adopt a realistic attitude than unmindfully reduce reality to the merely realistic.
* * *
Still dubious? If the issue of your proper functioning seems too complicated or beyond your capacity, the whole thing can be reduced to a simple question:
Can you perceive a distinction between your concepts of reality, your mental model of it, and reality as it actually happens?
It is a failure to recognize this distinction that puts you in conflict with actual reality. It initiates all your mental suffering, motivates your person's ideological conflict with other Humans over everything under the sun, and allows you to rationalize or disregard all your person's self-interested, short-sighted, or destructive behavior. Phrased constructively: the more open you are to differentiating actual reality from your expedient abstractions of it, the better your chances of recognizing and understanding the truth of actual reality; and following this mental behavior, the saner, the less conflictive, your person's behavior will be. Simply, if you want to function well in reality, try to keep this distinction in mind –– continuously (or as much as you are capable).
And don't worry about actually making the distinction based on the concept that you're supposed to, hopeful mind, or that you even could, all by yourself. An essential point of this letter is that you can't. Reality will make the distinction for you –– if you're willing to listen. It's simply the effort to recognize that a distinction could be made not by you, but on your behalf that is an exercise in sanity.
Human mind, reality is the context of your existence. It creates you –– continuously. And you exist so that your person may consciously experience and understand reality. Yes? If you want to know sanity, precious mind, listen to reality –– your creator. Listen openly and flexibly –– with humility. Let reality teach you what is real and true –– that your person may consciously know it, and live sanely.
* * *
Apologies, laboring mind, for the convoluted concepts presented here. Were it helpful to cram it into a nut shell: As you believe your self-conceived definitions of reality, so you suffer its misperception. But as you patiently and flexibly inquire of reality's sense, so you gather its wisdom, harmony, and well-being.
“This should not be happening to me!”
–– motto of the malcontent
For goodness sake, mind –– it's already happening. Always.
This is a prime example of a failure to recognize a distinction between conceptual and actual reality –– and the mental suffering that results from it. It's a good place to start to take an honest look at your behavior.
Likely you're familiar with this motto. But honestly, how familiar? How many times a day do you think “This shouldn't be happening”, or something like it, without realizing you're doing it? There are many versions:
“This is boring –– I could be doing something else.” “Oh crap, It's raining!” “My life should be better than this.” “I'm supposed to be home by now.” “Why did I agree to this?” “So and so shouldn't be such a jerk.” “I shouldn't worry so much.” “If only I'd said...” “How dare you...” “I hate... (anything you can conceptualize)” And so on. There are as many versions of “this shouldn't be” as there are possible Human experiences –– and every single instance is an attempt by you, mind, to replace reality with a concept of it.
Sorry, but as much as you protest, the reality of your actual existence is inescapable –– and the reality where something else is happening to you is purely imaginary. It doesn't exist (in this universe anyway).
So while you're in your conceptualizing trance, busy condemning your circumstances or scheming how to remodel them to your liking, are you forgetting someone? Where's your actual person? Stuck in the reality of what's happening while you're away from the wheelhouse? How does your person feel about your insistence that you be in some other reality?
lack of contentment; dissatisfaction with one's circumstances.
It doesn't feel so good, does it?
But whose dissatisfaction? Who's feeling it? Are you, mind, the one who feels things –– or does your person?
If there's any confusion over this point, it's your's entirely –– due to your failure to distinguish between your conceptual and actual person. It's your conceptual self that you imagine could be somewhere else or in different circumstances. You pretend you are this conceptual person –– and pretend you are feeling the ire over things not being as they should. Thus you can pretend that the “shouldn't be” circumstances are causing your irritation, and that you are entitled to a better reality.
But is this actual reality? (The unending question a sane mind asks.)
Be honest. Look at it truthfully: It's your actual person that suffers –– mentally suffering your obdurate attitude about reality. Your person can't possibly be in any other reality than the one you object to, so it's the notion that you could-be or should-be that's painful to your person. With discontentment you are, in actuality, tormenting your person with an unrealistic mind-set.
Think about this: The pain of discontentment is not from your dissatisfaction with reality, but rather it's reality's dissatisfaction with your attitude. Reality is simply trying to tell you through the bitter feelings of your person that a conceptually rooted disgruntled attitude is inappropriate to the miracle of your actual existence.
Remember the dope slap mentioned earlier? The irritability of discontentment is the suffering of reality's inescapable psychological rebuke for the arrogant and persistent effort to ignore reality. The harder you try, mind, the more your person suffers the futility of your efforts.
Oh proud Human mind, how did you ever come to believe that you could argue with reality and win?
* * *
“OK yes,” you say. “I experience discontentment. But terrible things do happen in reality. Things I would rather not happen to me –– or anyone. Are you suggesting it's pointless to object? that I should do nothing –– just let it happen?”
What terrible event? The conceptual one you imagine could happen? Or the one that's actually happening? Notice how you only experience discontentment when terrible things aren't happening to your person. If they are, you're usually too busy to be dissatisfied. And if the terrible event is not happening, why would you torment your person with the concept that it could be? Angst and worry are just other forms of discontent –– uncomfortable emotions through which reality motivates you to face actual reality: the wonderful reality where nothing terrible is happening –– like now.
If something terrible is actually happening to your person, is your insisting it shouldn't be happening helping the situation? Likely it's making things worse, as you mentally disengage –– denying your person crucial perceptions. It's when you let go of your objections to what's happening that you and your person start working as one to alleviate the terrible circumstance, i.e. cope with it. (You and your person are powerless to change what is already happening –– the only reality that exists. Participate within the continuous unfolding of reality, yes; influence its potential to unfold according to its rules, yes; but change it into anything other than what it is, even as it unfolds? Never. It's already unfolding in accordance with its rules and your person's well or ill-chosen actions (undertaken with acumen or in ignorance of reality's rules). Wisdom, and effective coping, comes with an ever clearer understanding of reality's rules, to better play by them –– as there is no other game to play, or way to play it.)
This same cooperation can be experienced in ordinary circumstances you wouldn't judge to be terrifying, but merely painful, inconvenient, annoying, worrisome, or in some other way unfavorable. Let go of your conceptually based objections –– appreciate the advantage of keen awareness and help your person live consciously.
Mind, the idea that you let or don't let things happen is problematic. It's that arrogant attitude again –– pretending to way more power and ability than you possess. Your job is perceiver/understander, and your hobbies speculator and commentator. Other than this, you don't actually do anything. Sorry mind, but it's true. Your person is the one who does or doesn't do things in actual reality, and depends on you to awaken from your conceptualizing trance; to perceive things clearly and understand as best you can without pretense, objection, iffy speculation, or superfluous commentary –– especially in dire circumstances.
So yes it is pointless for you to mentally object to anything that's actually happening –– and very appropriate for your person to actively object to life-threatening events (which is actually a means of embracing life.) You, mind, may assist –– or interfere –– in proportion to your conceptualizing habit.
You're familiar with the Serenity Prayer?
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
What your person is actually praying for, willful mind, is your willingness to surrender your conceptual beliefs in favor of truthful perception –– so your person may live without conflict.
“That should be happening to me.”
–– motto of the melancholy Human
Usually with discontentment, Human mind, your focus is on perceived inconvenience, discomfort, or worse –– the things you don't want. But discontent can be very subtle indeed. From a conceptualizing posture you may also apply it to circumstances you judge as positive –– the things you want.
Reality provides anything and everything that could possibly exist at the only moment that could possibly exist –– this one; so wanting, the notion that something is lacking, only exists as a mental construct –– a concept. And it's a pernicious idea. As much as you maintain the expectation that reality could provide more than what it does, your conceptual/actual blindness will ensure that you suffer your ambitions to get what you want.
There are many wonderful aspects of reality that your person is less likely to experience the more you chase the concept of it. Here are a few:
A better tomorrow (the day after yesterday)
Peace of mind
Your true self
These are examples of a harmonious experience of reality –– conflict-free existence. And typically these words represent something you want, or want more of, as if it weren't part of your current reality. Yet all these words are universally understood and identify actual or real-time experiences that reality may provide. And your person has shared or could share these experiences with you, fortunate mind, somewhere along the continuous moment of your existence –– and are more likely to occur if you're in the receptive “reality is the source of anything and everything” state.
When in the closed “this shouldn't be happening” state of discontent, the not-wanting-this state, this represents actual reality; whatever particular circumstance you would reject in favor of your conceptual druthers. The result: you torment your person with dissatisfaction.
With “that should be happening”, the wanting-that state, that represents conceptual reality; the concept of happiness, love, serenity, etc. combined with the concepts that these are in short supply, are being unjustly withheld, or that you could have these things if reality were different than it is. You've shifted your attention from not wanting actual reality to wanting conceptual reality, but either way you're focused on the non-existent. And your forgotten person is still inextricably existing in actual reality, while you yearn for an ideated one.
The result of wanting for your person, however, is subtly different than that of not-wanting: instead of or in addition to dissatisfaction, your person suffers heartbreak on your behalf –– a deep sadness over something lost. A melancholy not over what you, mind, conceive has gone missing, but rather what you've lost the will to see, that's actually there all along.
You may have forgotten the joys of existence while you pretend to be the conceptual one who isn't happy, loved, or content, and pretend you are the one feeling disheartened; but your person hasn't forgotten. Your person's heart (the metaphoric center of being) knows the reality of harmony and all its positive manifestations, and aches over your wanting, your conceived lack of joy, knowing all the while that joy is intrinsic to being. As is love, serenity, and all other aspects of harmony.
How much would you have your person suffer on your behalf, mind? Sadness, depression, anguish? Would you go so far as to blame reality for your despair, even as your person despairs your actuality blindness?
Reality pleads with you through your person's melancholy, tragic mind, that an attitude of wanting is inappropriate to the abundance and ecstasy of your existence.
So, is your person feeling melancholy? Yes? Then let it be so! Stop feigning the misery your person actually suffers so that you may futilely impugn reality's generosity –– which induces melancholy in the first place. Accept the truth of your person's suffering without aversion or complaint. Learn of it.
Focus less on your conceptual wants, egocentric mind, and care for your actual person. Concede some of your self-appointed authority; apologize, and listen with compassion. Does your person need you to be more open and appreciative? Does your person need to feel the intrinsic joy of being? Let reality and your person teach you gratitude for the actuality of what you are and what you have –– and see if your person's breaking heart isn't soothed, and begins to mend.
* * *
Still sad? Perhaps there is one very painful emotion, cherished mind, that awaits your deeper understanding:
deep sorrow, esp. that caused by someone's death.
Melancholy is not grief, and shouldn't be mistaken for it. The pain of melancholy, unhappiness, is personally intimate –– between you and your person. The ache of it is your person's commentary on your dysfunction, your blindness and lack of empathy for your person while you indulge a conceptual relationship with reality. Melancholy hangs around for as long as it is necessary to awaken you to your person's innate happiness.
Grief, on the other hand, is not internally conflictive. The pain of it is something you and your person share in direct response to reality –– a tragic turn of events as it becomes known to you, as it becomes a reality you can't deny. It is the pain of realization –– the letting go of an outlived reality and acceptance of what reality has become. The new undeniable reality is one without your beloved someone, cherished dream, way of life, or innocence. Yes, grief can be so much more intense than melancholy, but it lacks the bitter tone of resentment. If the suffering of grief could be given a voice, it would be compassionate and translate as something like “I am so very very sorry for what must be. Please accept it.”
Authentic grief doesn't hang around –– once it actually occurs –– which may be years or decades after the tragic event. Grieving the betrayal of love and trust in early childhood, as a common example, can take a lifetime to initiate, if at all. Notice, dear mind, how melancholy or discontent, the bitter non-acceptance of reality, delays the onset of grieving. Anger blocks it completely.
Melancholy even has the power to motivate suicide (Specifically, the intentional destruction of one's own life in the absence of compassion –– compassion for self and the compassion of others for your person). But only in the height of arrogance and furthest mental isolation from reality could you conceive that the life of your person has no purpose. Only with the utmost hypocrisy could you participate in the compassionless murder of your person –– the life that bears your existence. Would you mind, in all your hubris, judge your person unworthy of life, even as your person suffers your utter lack of empathy and gratitude? You risk reality's concurrence. Reality fully allows the ending of your person's life, by self-sacrifice to despair or by unintended consequence, if you drift so far from harmonious consciousness that your person, undirected and feckless, may no longer be purposed for life.
Reality though, highly values life, investing so much energy and intelligence in it; and grief, the remembrance of life's preciousness, would have you cherish it; and so reality would rather you revere life than forsake it –– would instead have you forsake your self-constructed hopeless view of the world, and awaken to the rarity and virtue of your person's existence, no matter the conditions of it. And thus reality provides a remedy for despair through the humility and sincerity required of actual grieving. Grief is wholly inconsistent with suicide, so if you are despairing of life, lonely mind, you have much grieving to do.
Notice also how sometimes your perceptive heart knows of the tragedy you are trying to deny, takes the initiative, and begins to grieve before you would allow the truth of loss into awareness. Will you trust your heart and follow? You would be wise to do so mind. You are willing to trade in misperceptions; forming, believing, and hyping them; but not your heart. Lies and delusion don't exist for the heart. It knows nothing but truth and would have you relinquish your delusions, no matter how imperative or precious they may seem, and ally with what actually is, no matter how painful. Your heart is your surest guide to honesty, acceptance, and healing.
Notice, finally, the peace of mind that always follows genuine grief. But look closely at this feeling of peace. It's actually your person's peace of being –– the accord of mind and heart together with reality –– the relief and calm of realignment with truth. Its voice would say “You belong in this new reality, and are safely within it. Welcome home.” It is a moment of harmonious being, though more grieving may await more letting go and acceptance.
So beloved but troubled mind, listen to your heart. Cease inciting anger, discontent, and melancholy through your denial of reality's irresistible renewal. Let it go, so that you and your person may finally do what is most important: grieve –– which is to heal your traumatized relationship with reality.
* * *
A note here, dispassionate mind, about emotions in general:
Heed them. Trust them. Follow them.
You of course don't like this idea from the posture of being in control of consciousness. Their company is unsettling, especially the difficult ones, but even enjoyable emotions, laugh as they do at your attempts to govern them, aren't to be relied on. So you try hard to dismiss your person's feelings.
However, when it comes to distinguishing actual from conceptual reality, emotions are invaluable –– because they're of reality, not about it, like your thoughts. Emotions are entirely experiential –– they happen, and can only happen, in real time. No past or future emotion could ever be felt by anyone. (Though conceptually dwelling on the memory of some once experienced painful event or emotion may elicit an actual painful emotion about the hazards of brooding over the past.)
Being of reality, emotions are of the truth; incapable of deceit, immune to delusion. They tell it like it actually is. And though they have no conceptual content whatever, they are rich with trustworthy meaning –– the gist that reality would have you understand. Emotions are direct and immediate feedback about the quality of you and your person's experience within reality –– including your attitude, mind, toward reality. This is why emotions are so closely linked to the quality or tenor, not so much the specific conceptual content, of your thoughts.
Emotions are like a harmony compass. Is this orientation of being toward or away from harmony? It really is this simple: If emotional wisdom could be expressed in words, so called negative emotions would say “that's not the way to harmony”. Positive emotions “yes, that's the way”.
The meaning of discontentment's ire for example, would be “ungratefulness for your circumstances is not the way to contentment.” Melancholy's gloom would say “absence of compassion for your person is not the way to happiness.” Fear says “inattention to reality's continual transformation is not the way to survive, let alone flourish; so be aware –– awaken to reality.” Anxiety advises “persistently ignoring the meaning of fear is not the way to fearlessness.” And so on. Can you see, imprudent mind, why judging any emotion as negative, as in unacceptable for its discomfort and to be avoided, suppressed, or ignored is so futile and ill-advised? (Overindulging or abandoning yourself to a painful emotion is also a means of avoiding its wisdom.)
Can you see that positive emotions, the ones that feel good, are simply affirmations of an orientation of being, including your mental posture, toward harmony? Joy confirms “yes, these conditions are well worth existence, and the awareness of such –– continue this way.” Affection testifies “yes, the recognition of oneness is the way to belonging.” The rush of inspiration or awe verifies “yes, reality is so much more than you realize –– deeper understanding is the way to know it.” And serenity reveals “yes, this is what reality feels like now that you've relinquished your conflict with it.” Mind, you may make many such distinctions between these wonderful emotions based on the differing circumstances in which they occur, but aren't these all just variations of the fundamental sensation of love? which proclaims beyond all doubt “yes, this is why you exist!”
Please notice mind, how your person never has an uplifting experience of consciousness while you're busy reducing reality to what you think it is, or wish it were. It's when you turn away from self-involved conceptual posturing toward an appreciative discernment of actuality that consciousness becomes a joyful experience. The happiest moments of your person's life occur along with a recognition that you exist within an extraordinary and abundant reality. Note also how your person reliably experiences positive emotions after sincerely heeding the advice of painful ones. Turning toward harmony always feels better –– as emotions guide the way.
“I'm right, you're wrong.”
–– the unattended concept that would destroy humanity
There's no such thing as a humble opinion, mind. Once you've formed one, you've already asserted your self-granted right to interpret reality as you see fit; usually with little support from reality itself.
It would be wicked enough to torment just your person with your opinions about the reality you want or don't want. But no –– having decided your world view is the only legitimate one, you are impelled to assert your ill-conceived persuasions over any person whosoever. But then, that other person's mind is behaving just as you do, forming concepts about what that other person's view of reality is, judging these illegitimate, and letting that other person know all about it –– as if one's own intolerable concepts actually applied to anyone else. And just as blind to what's actually happening, you respond in kind. Thus you argue over the nature of reality as you each see it –– a fantasy in itself with absolutely nothing to do with the other person, yet you'd each rather defend a concept than risk abating your ignorance. You are engaging in reality conflict simultaneously –– each provoking the other's insanity, ergo tormenting each other.
And if you only stopped at torment. You know full well, callous mind, what Humans are capable of doing to other Humans, from teasing to taunting to torture to genocide, when blind to another person's humanity.
And this sort of blindness is precisely what you indulge when you reduce another person to nothing more than concepts –– your ideas of who they are, what they think, or what their life is worth. It's so much easier to argue with someone seen as a disagreeable idea than muster the humility and compassion necessary to respect an independent point of view; so much more expedient to murder someone judged as the incarnation of an objectionable ideology, culture, or lifestyle than share reality with someone who's existence may impede your ambitions to skew existence in your favor. But who, perilous mind with all your heartless pretext, are you arguing with or murdering but the humanity that is you?
What use is mindless self-destruction to the evolution of sentient life? Can you understand how reality would work to eliminate such behavior? such reality blindness? Just as with suicide, so with humanicide: If humanity would be so witless as to destroy itself from within through a failure of the individual mind to understand and appreciate that any person is the embodiment of the whole; reality will comply.
On the other hand, there is this distinction to be made between your concept of another Human and who that person actually is. The latter could be known as reality, the former never. Even a most familiar person deserving the most convoluted and nuanced concept does not, can not, exist inside your person's head (or wherever you imagine you reside, mind). Vilify or idolize, no matter, the more you conceptualize someone, the less you could know the wonder of who that person actually is.
But there that person is, right in front of you –– an embodiment of humanity, for better or worse. And so of course it's the reality of that person that would make the distinction for you, if you, willing to defer your mental opining, are open to whatever that reality may be, and are prepared to accept that person's reality as it is –– as it could only be. With such acceptance of someone's humanity, such as it is, and so much to learn about reality together from humanity's point of view, what could there possibly be to argue over, let alone duel?
And the person unfamiliar to you could be a treasure of unexplored access to the reality of humanity –– or a maze of insanity –– depending on the level of reality acceptance or conflict you each bring to the meeting.
* * *
“But there are evil people in the world –– people that would argue with me no matter what I say or do, vilify or abuse me despite my acceptance of them, or murder me for no reason at all.”
It's true mind. Such Humans exist. It's inevitable that the worst of humanity, an abused and neglected person with a mind intent on uncompromising self-interest allied with an utter lack of empathy, should gather in an individual Human. And should misfortune bring you into such a person's presence, you're face to face with the madness that would destroy humanity –– beginning with yours. So how do you and your person respond? How will you cope with the reality that includes this malign person?
Do you understand the nature of the inhumanity you face? Can you predict its actions? The more you understand about any actual reality you confront, the more options you have to cope with it. Narrowing your conception of this person to “abuser”, “sociopath”, “rapist”, or “murderer” leaves you with very few options: fight, flee, or acquiesce. These are precisely what an inhuman person would have you choose between, having no doubt already restricted or eliminated the fight or flight options. When you involuntarily limit your own options through an undiscerning reaction to your circumstances, you are much easier to control –– and are in fact the victim any abuser, sociopath, rapist, or murderer seeks.
On the other hand, a conceptually astute and flexible inquiry like “This person, having suffered the destruction of their humanity, is attempting the murder of mine. How can I protect my humanity? And how can I use it to help restore the humanity of this person?” Your person's behavior will reflect this attitude; and thus confronted with the reality of you and your humanity, your potential abuser may realize you aren't such an easy victim after all –– and just maybe even recognize the self-abuse in harming you.
Are you familiar with the person who would harm or oppress you? A common tactic of the predatory person is to isolate its intended prey; physically, from other people, but especially from the victim's own healthy sense of reality. Your own conceptual delusions are difficult enough to dispel, but now you've got a heartless person telling you what you want and don't want –– and you're buying it. Once in this trap, once your abuser is conceptually defining reality for you, it's exceptionally difficult if not impossible to conceptually reason your way out of it –– after surely contributing to your falling into it. Once you are cut off from your ability to perceive the true nature of your condition, your person is powerless to change it.
Who do you know, isolated mind, that is trying to control your sense of reality? Why not just do this for yourself?
Or don't know. You don't need to know your oppressor personally to suffer oppression. All you have to do is relinquish to someone else your natural power to question and investigate reality for your own enlightenment –– someone else who most surely wants you unenlightened. Those who would exploit you, or an entire population, for personal gain or gratification count on your tendency to do precisely this. Any gullible mind or population of minds with local, national, ethnic, racial, political, or religious inclinations will do –– anything that contributes to conceptual identity and is thus vulnerable to manipulation. Feeding you a steady diet of concepts that appeal to your need for acceptance, security, pride, status, group identity, etc.; relying of course on a predictable negative emotional reaction (which is to say a negative reaction to the emotion), usually fear, to a conceptually orchestrated threat to said acceptance, security, pride, status, group identity, etc.; you amass a conceptual world view that motivates you to blindly act in favor of someone else's selfish interests, which no doubt conflict with your better interests.
Thus your notional enemy, a great friend of the oppressor, is created. In the insular Human mind or the incestuous web of humankind, the concept of them is a traitorous idea.
So, is either the known or nameless person who would sell you the concepts that enslave you your enemy?
Honestly, credulous mind, why would you buy these concepts? You pay with your freedom to consciously participate in the reality that would benefit you and your kind, i.e. humanity. How blameworthy is the oppression to which you volunteer?
Then who is your actual enemy? Those who would abuse, exploit, or murder you are themselves the victims of inhumanity. Those who promise you well-being, salvation, or enlightenment for whatever price are themselves suffering the want of these things and have little to spare. Those who would betray who you are by reducing you to a concept are not so different from you. Where does it all begin?
Your enemy, Human mind, is your reliance on the concept of what a Human is, as applied to each other, at the sacrifice of learning the truth of what you actually are as one. It is this delusional attitude, playing out generation after generation, that has kept humanity in a state of simmering self-brutality.
In any instance of Human inhumanity you may face, it is a lucid perception of the Human condition, not just an undiscerning reaction to your own condition, that will not only help protect you from contempt, abuse, exploitation, or murder, but also lessen the likelihood that you would unconsciously perpetrate these behaviors yourself.
Understanding the Human condition is a lonely affair. You, autonomous Human mind, so far as you know, are the only one that can accomplish it. And without it there could be no improvement of the overall Human condition. Understanding is not something anyone else can do for you. No one can discover it for you, let alone teach, give, or sell it to you. The best other Humans could do is discover it for themselves on your behalf, and support your efforts. But even with such support, in your responsibility to the health of the Human condition, you are alone.
But you are most certainly not on your own. You have an indispensable ally –– the only ally that could never hoodwink, misuse, or execute you; that truly values your humanity and would never betray you as you actually are: reality.
* * *
Mind, what is an evil person but the literal personification of the Human potential to destroy life? Are you so sure that you and your person are absent of this potential?
Just as it's easier to devalue and abuse other Humans when they mean nothing to you but the concepts you choose to apply to them, so it is with your treatment of life in general. With what self-serving concepts do you limit the value of life, then abuse it to your own advantage? And just as you jeopardize the well-being of humanity at large through the maltreatment of even one individual, so you risk the telluric life on which your existence depends with any mindless behavior that imperils the life forms, known or unknown to you, that you live among.
A fundamental characteristic of insanity, when viewed from outside it, is a striking absence of awareness in the insane of the harm they would do themselves and others. You lock these people up for their own and your protection, yes? So how aware are you of the harm you do yourself, posterity, and “life as we know it” through the derangement of your reality blindness? What sort of asylum would reality create to confine you? Will the Earth do? You may dream of escape, but there's nowhere else to go, and you've already set the nuthouse on fire.
Apologies, long-suffering mind, for the harshness of these words. But the time to awaken from life-destroying delusion in the midst of what precious life remains is now.
Cogito non grata
–– the counter-conceptual message herein
It's understandable. What self-defining mind wants to look into a mirror at its own insanity? –– what this missive would have you do.
Any concept dependent mind would experience discomfort with the drift of this letter. It challenges the validity of how you establish your own existence. But rather than face the possibility that said discomfort is warranted, it's easier to blame it on the messenger. Objecting to the content, style, or paradoxical nature of it (that it uses concepts to argue against over-reliance on concepts for example, or that it suggests you are separate from your person to illustrate the point that you aren't) you may think something like “What nonsense!” or just “This isn't worthwhile”, and have your person find something more pleasing to do.
This is how you've always handled any challenge to your authority –– how you preserve your self-assumed identity as truthful knower. But such a reaction is a perfect illustration of the mental behavior this letter would discourage: You are gambling within a paradoxical (counter-conceptual) reality that you already know the truth. But your negative reaction to contrary or unfamiliar ideas is a tell you're holding a busted hand. Reality will call your bluff every time. You may throw your cards and pound the table, but you can't leave the game –– as reality keeps dealing.
Still in, curious mind? Perhaps you aren't so insane after all. Perhaps you could tolerate a few more mind-insulting concepts...
“Do as I say, not as I do.”
–– prelude to Human extinction
If only a child's mind could recognize the insanity on which it depends for guidance.
Sigh But no, that's not how it works.
Ill-fated mind, there are so many examples of how your conceptual/actual myopia perpetuates your unenlightenment. Take the concept of enlightenment for instance. As much as you yearn for whatever you imagine it could be, you ensure it won't happen –– as you indulge an unenlightened mental interaction with reality.
Or the ego. Is this something you're trying to squelch? So what faculty would you use to judge what you conceive as the ego to be insufferable and in need of suppression? Would that be your actual ego?
Or time. Admittedly, the concept of 7:00 p.m. Friday is very handy for making a date with the hottie you just met. So long as the Earth continues its pirouetting waltz around the Sun's gravity well and Humans keep synchronizing their reality flow measuring devices and abiding by their promises, you might even have your date. But insisting on the actuality of conceptual time? You know damned well, though you won't admit it, what misapprehension and misery can result from believing the future should play out as you envision it, or that what happened in the past could have been different. Such rich fuel to keep your discontentment burning.
Or reality itself. You assign it a noun, and then pretend it is one –– though your definition could never apply to anything more than your concept of it. Nouns are so much easier to conceptually manage. But no matter how stable reality may seem from your fleeting perspective, it never lingers in any form long enough to be constrained by something so permanent as a noun. So what universal verb do you have with which to understand the endless transcendence of actuality?
And so on. So goes your efforts to confine your understanding of reality to what you can comfortably conceive of it, and your suffering the adversity of an unenlightened existence.
But what does all this conceptual posturing matter when your very existence is at stake, Human mind? The oversight that will surely doom you to evolutionary pointlessness is the failure to distinguish your conceptual caricature of a child from the miracle of humanity and life that child actually is. Of all the life forms you could devalue, neglect, and abuse, why would you choose this one?: the realization of what humanity is becoming.
Is humanity becoming utterly incapable of nurturing itself into well-being?
Seems so, doesn't it, when you take stock of the overpopulation, environmental degradation and poisoning, mass extinction, wars, economic and social disparity, and all the other grim prospects Humans have wrought. The adults that commit these crimes against the potential welfare of humanity and life on Earth are the children you have raised.
Actually, humanity seems to be surviving remarkably well considering it trusts its children to the care of the insane (Yes, maybe too well in the view of most other life forms except cockroaches and viruses).
Do you think, amnesic adult mind, Human continuance may be due to the remarkable resilience and coping ability of children, despite inept parenting? And when is it that you learned how to parent? In your failure to remember and appreciate the actuality of Human development, you squander the potential embodied in a child for humanity to better its condition rather than merely maintain or foolishly worsen it.
Humanity's welfare doesn't exist in the form of abstract statistics, something you would study from an office, or social policy you would legislate, learned mind. The reality of it plays out in the developing consciousness of every child. What more immediate and precious form of reality could you hope to find to motivate the nurturance and enlightenment of humanity?
* * *
“Like it's that easy. Raising a child is one of the most challenging tasks any Human could undertake.”
Challenging? Having trouble raising your child? The little Human won't behave according to your expectations? Are your expectations by any chance based on your conceptions of how a child should behave? Are you trying to deny the reality of your child's behavior for your own convenience? The trouble and vexation you would blame on the child is actually a manifestation of your failure to understand what a developing Human needs to flourish.
All behavior is an interactive response to developing conditions that will require further response. You, the experienced adult, are more conscious than your child of developing conditions and are responsible for the conditions your child encounters and responds to. So the conduct you witness in your child, agreeable or ill-tempered, is direct feedback about your child's development and is largely a consequence of your behavior, not the child's. And your child, embodying far more intelligence than you would assign to the little person, is watching your every move –– learning through personal experience, albeit unconsciously, how humanity is to behave –– and be treated.
This parent/child condition/response teaching/learning system is highly sensitive to conceptual/actual discernment. For instance, when you react negatively to your child's behavior (and trying to ignore it is a negative reaction) because it doesn't conform to your unexamined concept that a child should behave well under any conditions, you not only invite a negative response in your child, but teach that this is an appropriate response to adverse conditions, and that it's to be expected of Human behavior. Or better, as you are able to discern the limitations of your experience and sketchy understanding of your child's needs, the more likely you are to seek, recognize, and foster the conditions that would meet these needs, and affect a more favorable development –– and teach your child that Humans can very well see to the needs of other Humans.
The consequences of your behavior accumulate in your child's behavior like compounding interest, or debt, to the balance of Human well-being. It starts before birth and comes due upon independent adulthood. The older the child, the more complex the needs, yet also the less dependent on your influence, so a good beginning favors a good outcome. A toddler's tantrum for example, is already several condition/response layers deep into a parent's failure to understand the changing needs of a particular developing child. The sullen or rebellious teenager? Forget it –– it's far too late to influence the conditions that would avert such a response to conditions by a young adult Human. The best you can do now is relate to your teenager as a completely independent person worthy of the compassion, respect, and support you would wish to have received yourself as a developing person. Had you done this all along, perhaps you would be feeling much more pride than relief or anxiety as your child leaves your sphere of influence –– and you fade into evolutionary obsolescence.
But no matter your child's age or temperament, it's never too late to value your child's humanity above your own –– because reality does: where reality is going with the evolution of humanity is more valuable than where it's been. Your child's behavior is all about the needs of humanity to evolve, and just as emotions are of truthful reality because they happen to you, so is the behavior of a child. It's happening. Are you listening? Cheerful or cantankerous, do you see the wisdom of it? (And please, overwhelmed parental mind, do not make the dreadful mistake of assuming that your child's mind is wiser or more discerning than yours about what humanity needs to improve its condition.) What is this behavior telling you about what you need to learn of the Human condition, that this child, with your guidance, may learn to improve it?
Done well, raising a child is the most inspiring and joyous task any Human could hope to be blessed with. The challenging part, ill-nurtured mind, is consistently overcoming your conceptually conditional response enough to recognize the actual wonder and promise you hold in your arms.
So ask yourself, as you look into the hopeful eyes of a child, what is the future of humanity asking of me? Then you may respond with discerning and unselfish love.
Garbage in, Garbage out
In your enduring campaign to conceptualize reality, ambitious mind, you mistrust emotions and counter-conceptual notions –– and you overindulge the prerogative of your intellect. Yet apparently what you conceive as intelligence doesn't necessarily help you discern actual reality. The smartest conceptualizing Humans are by no means the happiest, wisest, or even the most well-adjusted. And, not least, the products of an intelligent mind, be this ideology or technology, used in conflict with reality, have enabled every horrendous deed in humanity's troubled history.
Occupying a brilliant mind would be thrilling, like driving a cerebral Formula 1 race car. Yes, an exhilarating ride, but are you going anywhere? A brilliant mind seems no less prone to blindly accepting the actuality of ideas than a simple mind –– or perhaps more so due to a heightened estimate of its own privilege, authority, and infallibility. On the other hand, there are many cerebral horse-and-buggy drivers with very discerning hearts getting along within reality just fine.
A faster and more sophisticated processor doesn't guarantee that its output is meaningful if it's processing data that has no relevance to an overall context; and brilliant conceptualizing, no matter how advanced or innovative, doesn't guarantee meaningful insights if what it's devising has little basis in the ever present genesis of reality.
So, philosophizing mind, how zealously are you pretending to understand reality through concepts alone? How deep is your trance?
You are likely the most threatened by the intimations of this letter. As you are the most prone to an identity founded on the supremacy of conceptualizing, you are the most loath to an honest examination of its delusional nature. Such self-scrutiny would force you to question not just your privilege, authority, and infallibility, but the very basis of your existence as you conceive it. You face the ultimate identity crisis.
And so you don't face it –– certain of the mind's primacy; confident of your independent existence and power to possess the truth, and secure in the sanctity of your opinions. Or so you conceive.
This is a tragedy –– that you would so deny your person the benefit of insightful consciousness. With this posture you are merely standing in the way of your person's further understanding –– and all you need to do to get out of the way, brilliant mind, is turn around: relax your grip on all the fabulously conceptual known to face the unknown –– the unconceptualizable –– which includes who or what you actually are, Human mind.
This is a realizable endeavor, and a conceptual/actual distinction will help: Clever mind, do you use your brilliant conceptualizing to further conceptualize concepts? Or do you use it in the self-less pursuit of discerning the uncharted fundamental nature of actual reality (á la Einstein)? Are you aware of this distinction as you go?
Answer honestly. Than perhaps the product of your intellect may be beneficial to the evolution of Human consciousness.
Sentio, ergo sum (I feel/realize, therefore I am)
–– a more truthful proposition?
Just how deep into the realm of conceptualizing, precocious mind, can you wander? Do you believe that thinking, by itself, establishes your existence? or that entertaining the concept of your non-existence is all the proof you need to establish it? or simply that your awareness of having a thought means that you created it? The realness of a thought only comes about through the act of having one. And who is having the thought –– you or your person?
Mind, you may have noticed an uncomfortable ambiguity in this letter concerning the word you. Sometimes it means you the mind, as if you were a separate entity from your person, and sometimes it means you and your person together. So which is it? Who is this letter written to? This is the core problem you face (there it is again): the ambiguity of your existence –– the equivocation of you.
And the most frustrating thing of all? –– the ambiguity is self-created! –– a direct consequence of the Human capacity for self-awareness. Which self are you? The one watching, or the one being watched? Embodying either one of these turns the other into a ghost, and you are the one equivocating.
The whole vexing mess arises from your ability to, lo and behold, conceptualize yourself. The instant you imagine the existence of a thing called mind, that represents the capacity for awareness, and believe you are this thing, you attempt to embody a fantasy. It sucks, but it's true: You, bemused mind, as you conceive of yourself, don't exist. And, with more apologies, as much as you would like to believe you have the capacity to resolve the ambiguity of your existence on your own, you do not –– no matter how smart you are –– because your smartness, the ability to conceptualize, creates the ambiguity in the first place. Welcome to the reality of self-awareness.
But then the ability to conceive of yourself, or anything at all, serves a critical function: It gives you something conjectural to investigate consciously –– something as yet unknown or not understood to imagine, then compare with the actuality of experience; and perhaps verify the truth, or error, of the original conjecture. In this way self-awareness, the science of self-reflection, allows the astounding ability for perception –– the conscious realization or understanding of something hitherto unknown.
The unknown, by its very nature, is ambiguous. So when you, mind, assume the roles of both autonomous witness and infallible judge, and try to remove reality's ambiguity through conjecture alone, which you can only accomplish by ignoring your person's experience, you inhibit the potential for further realization and understanding.
This, in summary, is the point of this letter: the hazards of habitual self-conjecturing –– to the detriment of trans-self-realization and harmonious existence. And it all pivots on your attitude, mind. As expressed earlier, as much as you insist on your unambiguous conceptual existence, without verification by your person, and apply the same conviction to everything else you conceptualize, you reinforce the misperception, the delusion, behind the insanity of actuality blindness –– and risk all its disharmonious consequences.
To honestly understand the question of existence, there is only one sure bet, one context free of ambiguity, and the only stable foundation for sanity: the existence of your actual person as a conscious manifestation of reality. This is your best, rather only, hope. The actuality of your person embodies far and away more intelligence and understanding than you could ever pretend to possess on your own. This is the incredible blessing you so blithely ignore as you cerebrally define existence, neglecting the insight of your actual being. It is your person's sentience (including the qualia of meaning taken for thought) after all is said and done, that establishes your existence, mind. And your person, the vehicle of your being, is the platform from which you survey and understand, or not, the reality that creates you.
The truth is, Human mind, you don't and can't fully know what or who you are. But would you like to know just a little more? Are you willing to surrender your alluring and self-gratifying conviction of independence and let sentience teach you?
* * *
verb [ trans. ]
1 become fully aware of (something) as a fact; understand clearly.
Mind, if only you could become fully aware, understand clearly, what this verb could actually mean. Is this the universal verb?
What but reality could realize anything at all? Though you would take credit for it, awakening mind, it isn't you that realizes. Rather reality is realizing you; gracing you with the flowering of consciousness –– according you the potential to ever more clearly understand reality as it already is.
Consciousness is not your tool to wield, as you exist within it. You do not create reality through the mere act of conceptualizing it. Reality endows you, living mind, with the powers to conceive and perceive. To conceive is to inquire of reality's potential, to perceive clearly is to realize it. You, blessed mind, are an instrument of consciousness that reality would use to become fully aware, to realize, its potential –– not just that of Human consciousness.
The most astounding aspect of your existence, Human person/mind, is that you may consciously participate in the outcome of reality's experiment in Human life. Would you adopt a posture that values actual reality more than the idea of it, perhaps you would realize the magnificent reality that allows your becoming. With such sanity, such dispelling of delusion in favor of truth, perhaps reality would unfold with the further evolution of Human life and consciousness.
What beautiful realization would this be?
* * *
As sincerely and truly as my non compos mind is capable,
the person d.sylvester