Friday, August 26, 2005

I Read Hegel and all I Got was This Lousy T-Shirt.

I’ve been very busy these last days, dealing with the fallout from one of my projects. I won’t go into details; they aren’t relevant to this site. However, in the process of keeping track and responding, I found myself at a variety of strange locations. Some of them were strange locations that I was familiar with, such as a forum where I used to regularly contribute.

I came by this forum on a day when the contributions there were even more trite than usual. There are some days when good writing can be had but that isn’t the norm there. The norm there is people chattering about personal things; about their jobs and the TV shows they watch and how they broke a nail and how they could use a hug. Alternatively there are contributors who throw around the names of philosophers like Hegel and composers like Wagner. Usually when they do this they go into a description of the philosopher and a soundbite of his thoughts and/or accomplishments; they read like a Cliff Note’s extraction, like something googled, like something a teacher said in class.

They talk about Wagner and Hegel because conversations about such persona grant an intellectual posture to the converser. “Observe me as I hold forth on this subject.” Well, Hegel was needlessly wordy and convoluted as befits one of the heirs of Kant and the onward progression of his contributions to human thought led to Communism in a way similar to Nietzsche and fascism. In neither case did Marx nor the architects of Nazism understand their sources clearly but that wasn’t their intention; they cherry-picked. One can say they did understand them more than the virtual café society that bandies their names about.

I’ve little use for Hegel and I find Wagner bombastic. There are whole litanies of names that exist for no other reason than that pseudo-intellectual gadabouts might use them for self-reinforcement in the effort to be loved or get laid. The varieties and facets of ego are endless and millions are waving batons over things they’ve small comprehension of and to no illuminated result.

Then I found myself on a web site, from having googled “Spiritual Masters” that listed, in primitive format, ‘realized spiritual masters of the west’. There was a column for men and a column for women. Upon investigating the websites of these individuals I found that more than half of them were Rajneesh followers setting up their own fiefdom of lectures and books and seminars and CDs and DVDs and squeezable toys. Some portion will solve your problems for you over the phone or via email for a nice, tidy fee. Every one of them had an introductory rap worthy of Hegel in which they let you know that nothing could be known but that... and then... however... and on and on, in an eerily similar manner.

Some portions of them were followers of a disciple of Ramana Maharshi who made all of them gurus on his deathbed. I think I can say with confidence that Ramana Maharshi would have no part in the things these people are up to.

Quite a few people have a wide and, sometimes, encyclopedic grasp of Buddhist and Vedanta minutiae. They have an assumed posture of deep comprehension with an attendant aura of suggested mysteries too profound to utter. Many people have the capacity to repeat Bible verses ad infinitum and to cogently argue with you about whether Timothy or Paul said such and such. None of the teachers whose lives inspired these texts had much to do with publishing or argument or minutiae.

Everywhere there are the intrepid compilers of knowledge for the sake of expostulation as an end. But what does it all mean? Ah... there’s the rub.

The various engines of world commerce are quite happy to have you here. They really hate to see you go, unless they’re a mortician or they make headstones. The businesses of this Earth are here to service your stay and they need you. Their aim is to distract you from reality and get you to conspire with them on the reality of their products. The fashion industry wants to dress you. The cosmetic industry wants to make your temporary, unreal persona more real in terms of an unreal world. The military wants you to fight with them against the enemy of the day. The politicians want you to vote for them so they can help you. The religions want you to join them and sing dreary tunes of leaden verse while in the effort to ‘make a joyful sound’ and to pay them for it. Everybody wants you to eat, drink and be merry and ‘ya’ll come back real soon’.

Imagine a highway that strides the Milky Way and its got freeway exits into every possibility of the imagination. This world is one of those exits. This exit is a real groove. It’s like a slide at a water park. People do keep coming back. What I find most amazing is their capacity for suffering. As hard as it may be on one go round they are bound and determined to get the thing they suffered for last time and to have more control of it and possess it for a longer time. Of course, it’s gone again anyway.

The magazine covers scream at you. The radio and the TV chatter on and on. Information is molded according to the agenda of those reporting. The world lies without interruption and laughs at you when you are injured because of it. Very important people hold forth on all manner of things. Pecking orders are established and maintained in a nepotistic and rigid hierarchy. You move up and down the ladder while switching bodies.

Now, I’ve a question; If you never read any Buddhist texts or any philosophers from any particular field of play, could you find God anyway? If you couldn’t read or write, could you find God anyway? If you never left the town you were born in, could you find God anyway? If you never went and hung out with these ‘realized masters of the west’ could you find God anyway? Yes, you could and with a great degree less trouble. First of all, God’s not lost, you are. Well, you are as long as you’re looking.

Do you want to find God? Go close yourself in a room and cry out to him for three days non-stop. If God doesn’t come, keep doing it until God comes. I assure you God will come. That’s what it takes. Even when God shows up without ‘certain’ people having done this you may be sure they have done it.

People are going to tell you all kinds of things. They’ll say it’s not this and it’s not that either. I know this game. They’ll say it is this but again it isn’t. They’ll put some kind of a ‘personal’ spin on something that is impersonal even while telling you it is impersonal, in back of phenomena and imperceptible to the senses. And they will charge you for it. Quite rare is the soul that is an empty house for the pearl of great price. You will spend some time looking and you will see some things. Money and status and all the things we see in operation here are part of this sphere. The only happiness you are going to get here is to live in complete disregard of their value; this does not mean disregarding their temporary usefulness in your passage. You have to eat, up to a point.

This is why I say, feel Love. Remind yourself to feel it until it utterly consumes you. No matter how many mistakes you make; and we all make them, no matter how many times you forget or get distracted, practice Love and Devotion and don’t worry about the rest. There’s no secret handshake. There’s no body of text you have to memorize. There is no learning or knowledge, besides that which leads you to Love and Devotion that you need be concerned with. Everything else you need is provided with the package.

Twittering on about Hegel and teaching your mind to do monkey tricks may be useful down at the café but it won’t open the gates of paradise. Yes, it can be hard to seemingly do what you must do, seemingly, without pay and without testimonial dinners. You will find though that God has got quite a few bank accounts, here and elsewhere. You walk past fortunes every day but don’t see them. Sometimes they get pointed out.

You can’t fool God, you can only fool yourself. Often you aren’t even fooling others. In many cases they know they are smarter than you and more deserving. Often they wonder as you do why everyone else doesn’t see it. Cave Dei Videt. Though I’m not half good at it I would much rather God was impressed with me than anyone else.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

God that is so right on the money. I have been there more than I want to remember.

Bradley

Anonymous said...

This is precisely the reason I swore off reading spiritual books for awhile. Oh well, I'm back into it now, reading up a storm. It's fun connecting all the pieces.

ben

Anonymous said...

Every now and again your hard edge comes out. I appreciate that because soft and nice doesn't always cut it in this world.

Les Visible said...

Dear Friends,

I have enabled 'word verification' in order to frustrate the spambots. I have to use it myself just to post this and it didn't hurt at all. I hope you all feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

Good writing. I've run across scads of these Osho clones who've set themselves up as enlightened teachers of truth and salvation. One of them, an Israeli, has a place down in Costa Rica where he runs his circus. On occasion he holds people hostage until they can be convinced to stay longer and pay more. It's obscene. Thanks for talking about it.

Peter

vyoma said...

the last line got me. i dont even remember what else i read here.

Anonymous said...

LesVisible,

Thank you.

Celeste

Anonymous said...

Les,

With that new word verification you can choose the combination you like by trying to place a comment without typing the code. Some of the hieroglyphics are ridiculous.

I found an easy one.

Thank you.

Celeste