WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

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Dachshund
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WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Dachshund » August 24th, 2018, 1:52 pm

What is the fundamental reality of human life?

Is there, I asked myself, an objective truth about the human condition, one that I can know with absolute certainty?

Is there, I wondered, something about the human condition that I cannot possibly doubt?

It occurred to me that the answer is "Yes, there is".

What it is, is the reality of suffering.

The reality of suffering in human life brooks no arguments. Nihilists cannot undermine it with skepticism. Totalitarians cannot banish it. Cynics cannot escape from its reality. Suffering is real, and the artful infliction of suffering on another, for its own sake, is absolutely morally wrong. This is now a cornerstone of my belief.

I think it should become a cornerstone of everyone's belief.

Discuss.


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Dachshund

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 24th, 2018, 3:06 pm

It is morally wrong to inflict suffering on would be immigrants just because you think they adhere to an anachronistic and out-of-date concept of Islam.

You would split up and banish families, prevent them from the pursuit of happiness, and deny them basic rights.

You've lost any credibility you might have had concerning this issue.

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Fooloso4 » August 24th, 2018, 3:37 pm

Dachshund:
Suffering is real, and the artful infliction of suffering on another, for its own sake, is absolutely morally wrong. This is now a cornerstone of my belief.
You move from what you claim is THE fundamental reality of human life (as if the reality of human life must be reduced to one thing, even though this one thing is necessarily contingent) to a moral claim about this fundamental reality (as if suffering and our moral obligation not to intentionally inflict suffering are the same) .

I will turn your basic moral question back on you: what is the theoretical justification for saying that the infliction of suffering on another is absolutely morally wrong?

You say it is NOW a cornerstone of your belief, but a belief does not become THE fundamental reality of life by adding the qualification 'absolutely'. Prior to now did you think that the artful infliction of suffering on another was morally permissible? Does absolutely mean you are opposed to torture? Does forbidding Muslim immigration lead to suffering for those seeking asylum or escape from suffering?

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Luxin » August 25th, 2018, 4:13 pm

Dachshund wrote:
August 24th, 2018, 1:52 pm
The reality of suffering in human life brooks no arguments. Nihilists cannot undermine it with skepticism. Totalitarians cannot banish it. Cynics cannot escape from its reality. Suffering is real, and the artful infliction of suffering on another, for its own sake, is absolutely morally wrong. This is now a cornerstone of my belief.
Dear Dachshund, I agree with you except for one word. My view is that suffering is the fundamental unreality of human life that is presently the omnipresent and real experience of most. :( As an idealist I believe that the potential reality is happiness. Happiness is clearly difficult to attain, but one's belief that it could be can keep one going. To me, knowing the suffering is just a starting point. If our race is to attain to happiness, more of us will need to work to lead the way to that ideal. Yours, Luxin.

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Newme » August 25th, 2018, 5:34 pm

Suffering is pretty hard to refute. If “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” - what is the opposite of suffering & is that as undeniable?

Btw - Maybe you guys are on another frequency - I saw nothing about Islam or immigration in the OP. Maybe we should discuss the sufgering from thinking about suffering as with obsession with old resentments, dragging old arguments into new ones, or chips on shoulders? ;)

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by LuckyR » August 26th, 2018, 2:26 am

Huh? Suffering is a relative term. Like beautiful or heavy. What about hunger? For food, money, power. Similarly we have all felt satiated. We have all felt comfort, so... where does that leave suffering? Nowhere, of course. Just as you can't appreciate pleasure without experiencing pain, we've all got to experience both ends of the spectrum. Thus it is overly simplistic to employ one end of a relative term as if the other pole doesn't exist.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Steve3007 » August 26th, 2018, 4:39 am

Dachshund wrote:Suffering is real, and the artful infliction of suffering on another, for its own sake, is absolutely morally wrong. This is now a cornerstone of my belief.
Dachshund elsewhere: Women should be slaves. It was right that Japanese children were killed in Hiroshima because all Japanese people are evil monsters. The indigenous populations of Australia and New Zealand should either be driven from their homes (ethnically cleansed) or killed (genocide). The life of an incapable-of-suffering individual cell takes precedence over the suffering of a pregnant girl. All people in the UK who self-identify as Muslim should be made to wear identifying armbands in the style of Jews in 1930s Germany and/or forcibly evicted from their homes. etc.

These are not idle, empty accusations. You cannot write them off as mere insults. These are things that YOU have said in this forum. By YOUR argument YOU are absolutely morally wrong, Dachshund. You propose the infliction of suffering by group-punishment against people purely because they belong to groups which you regard as inferior to the group with which you self-identify. Morally, you are therefore identical to the young man who kills a random selection of strangers because he believes them to be representatives of the morally decadent West and he believes it to be God's will that they die. They get what they deserve, inshallah, right?
Dachshund wrote:they are an innately cruel ,vicious and breathtakingly arrogant race of people ... They got what they deserved at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, thank God.
After thinking hard, perhaps for the first time, about what your own fear and tribalism drives you to propose doing, discuss.

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Steve3007 » August 26th, 2018, 4:46 am

Newme wrote:Btw - Maybe you guys are on another frequency - I saw nothing about Islam or immigration in the OP. Maybe we should discuss the sufgering from thinking about suffering as with obsession with old resentments, dragging old arguments into new ones, or chips on shoulders?
The writer of the OP has made a claim about his own personal moral compass. If that claim directly contradicts many, many previous statements in other topics then his statements in those topics will be brought up. The writer of this OP is not somebody with whom we are talking for the first time. His claims about himself are informed by his previous statements.

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Luxin » August 26th, 2018, 9:26 am

Dear philosophers, I like those sparks! :wink:
LuckyR wrote:
August 26th, 2018, 2:26 am
Suffering is a relative term. ... Thus it is overly simplistic to employ one end of a relative term as if the other pole doesn't exist.
Newme wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 5:34 pm
what is the opposite of suffering & is that as undeniable?
Defining the suffering/happiness states' duality:

When enough "suffering" is removed, there is "happiness", or a happier state, anyway. Right, LuckyR, the 'other pole' has to exist. To me, Newme, the posited opposite is 'undeniable'.

Here are some concepts illustrating the suffering/happiness or turmoil/peace dualities and their transitionality:

The Buddhist concept ( https://www.school-for-champions.com/re ... 4JuXbgRWUl ) is that desire causes suffering and the cessation of desire removes suffering. They have the 'Four Noble Truths':
1. Suffering exists
2. & 3. are regarding dealing with desires
4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path. This state they call enlightenment or Nirvana.
The Eightfold Path is eight 'right' (proper) habits: view, intention, speech etc. It's difficult to be sure that one's own version of these eight things -- which are all subject to conceptual growth -- is free of bad karma; e.g. I know that "Right speech" (as in "Speak no evil") requires evolution.

Here are words of Islam implying the hazard of desires: 'But will you shall not, unless God wills, the Lord of all being'. (Koran 81:29). :D

One happy Christian's comment suggests that happiness comes from living a life of virtue :) , with suffering implying a life of error.

The Number concept is that numbers in our names can suppress the desires of other numbers, causing problems :( .

Lao Tzu, in the Tao Te Ching, mentions the many qualities and concepts required for peace in following the Tao (way, path, principle). Part of the Taoist concept is illustrated by these quotes:
'He who acts defeats his own purpose'.
'No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself'.
'Let life ripen and then fall; will is not the way at all'.

Yours, Luxin

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Newme » August 26th, 2018, 11:09 pm

Luxin wrote:
August 26th, 2018, 9:26 am
Dear philosophers, I like those sparks! :wink:
LuckyR wrote:
August 26th, 2018, 2:26 am
Suffering is a relative term. ... Thus it is overly simplistic to employ one end of a relative term as if the other pole doesn't exist.
Newme wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 5:34 pm
what is the opposite of suffering & is that as undeniable?
Defining the suffering/happiness states' duality:

When enough "suffering" is removed, there is "happiness", or a happier state, anyway. Right, LuckyR, the 'other pole' has to exist. To me, Newme, the posited opposite is 'undeniable'.

Here are some concepts illustrating the suffering/happiness or turmoil/peace dualities and their transitionality:

The Buddhist concept ( https://www.school-for-champions.com/re ... 4JuXbgRWUl ) is that desire causes suffering and the cessation of desire removes suffering. They have the 'Four Noble Truths':
1. Suffering exists
2. & 3. are regarding dealing with desires
4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path. This state they call enlightenment or Nirvana.
The Eightfold Path is eight 'right' (proper) habits: view, intention, speech etc. It's difficult to be sure that one's own version of these eight things -- which are all subject to conceptual growth -- is free of bad karma; e.g. I know that "Right speech" (as in "Speak no evil") requires evolution.

Here are words of Islam implying the hazard of desires: 'But will you shall not, unless God wills, the Lord of all being'. (Koran 81:29). :D

One happy Christian's comment suggests that happiness comes from living a life of virtue :) , with suffering implying a life of error.

The Number concept is that numbers in our names can suppress the desires of other numbers, causing problems :( .

Lao Tzu, in the Tao Te Ching, mentions the many qualities and concepts required for peace in following the Tao (way, path, principle). Part of the Taoist concept is illustrated by these quotes:
'He who acts defeats his own purpose'.
'No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself'.
'Let life ripen and then fall; will is not the way at all'.

Yours, Luxin
Hi Luxin! I appreciate how you have searched and found some nuggets of wisdom in various religions. I’ve tried that too. I like Buddhism for meditative focus, Islam for the impressive daily dedication, Christianity for love/forgiveness and standing for what’s right, and Taoism for wisdom of nature and chinese medicine.

I see a conflict (or paradox?) in the idea that desire is suffering, because desire is also happiness. Some study found that people are not as happy achieving their goal as they are in desiring and moving toward it.

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Dachshund » August 27th, 2018, 7:43 am

LuckyR wrote:
August 26th, 2018, 2:26 am
Huh? Suffering is a relative term. Like beautiful or heavy. What about hunger? For food, money, power. Similarly we have all felt satiated. We have all felt comfort, so... where does that leave suffering? Nowhere, of course. Just as you can't appreciate pleasure without experiencing pain, we've all got to experience both ends of the spectrum. Thus it is overly simplistic to employ one end of a relative term as if the other pole doesn't exist.


LuckyR,

What is the nature of human being?

I think the essential existential condition of human being is such that it consists of a confrontation - a "clash", if you like - between the finite ( i.e. the bounded and limited) and the infinite ( the limitless, the unbounded). This is a basic fact of the matter re the human condition.

The world of lived experience as it presents itself to us is literally - not metaphorically - unimaginably complex; it is so incredibly, astonishingly complex that it is- as you know - WAY. beyond our capacity to understand. Why is this the case? What is the meaning of this incomprehensible complexity What it basically means is that we (human beings) are all in the predicament of being finite (limited, unbounded) entities who are forced to deal on an ongoing basis with the infinite ( the limitless, the unbounded); and our finiteness, our limitedness, in the face of the infinite has some inevitable consequences. These consequences are the essential existential conditions of life. The first consequence is that the finite is always overwhelmed by the infinite it has to face because it simply can't encapsulate it; and what this means is that suffering is central to the nature of human existence. BTW, when I use the terms limited/limitedness to characterise human finitude, I am intending them to connote the meanings conveyed by such (legitimate) synonyms as: inadequacy; insufficiency; neediness; dearth; lack; unavailability; deficiency and privation. I mean in the sense that when we experience a conscious awareness of neediness, of insufficiency , of deficiency, of privation we call what we feel "suffering". This is what I mean when I say that human suffering exists as a direct consequence (of the consequence of) our limitations - i.e. of our innate human finitude. And we are indeed finite beings, are we not ? I am sure you will agree that we know full well that we do not possess infinite knowledge - and that we do not live forever. I mean, it's true, isn't it that every single person who is alive IS going to perish, -there's absolutely no escaping the tragic fact that we are "born to die". Moreover, is it not the case thatevery single person who's alive IS going to deal with serious physical illness and mental distress ; even if they don't suffer it directly and immediately right now on their own, it's almost inevitably a fact that every single person who walks the Earth is confronting the bare bones of reality at that level in the guise of a family member or friend... The fact of our finitude - our limitedness - is not an academic issue, it is essential to the nature of our being and we are FORCED to deal with it on an ongoing basis because we are in a situation where the infinite is, to use the vernacular, presses itself "right in our face" - "right up close and personal" .

In short, limitation, is built into human experience and suffering is an ongoing, inescapable and essential existential consequence of the fact. What I'm trying to explain is difficult to grasp,( well it certainly was for me, to begin with) so let me try and express the basic idea in simpler, more lucid terms for you...

Consider this...There is a Jewish commentary on the Torah, where a question is posed, which for all intents and purposes boils down to something like this: "ONGod is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. But what does He lack?" The answer, we are told, is LIMITATION. For me, that's a riddle and an answer of unparalleled brilliance, because I think it speaks directly to something about the core nature of existence itself, and that is that without limitation there can be no being. Like I say, its a tricky concept to properly grasp and understand, so let me try to explain it to you like this as well...

Suppose I say to you: "OK, LuckyR, right now you and I are going to play a game, and I want you to take it dead seriously, right?" You say, " Sure, that's fine, Dachshund, let's do it." I then stare at you - I make intense, solemn eye-contact with you and say nothing. I allow this silent, "pregnant pause" to simmer for say 10 seconds in order to convey to you a sense of how very profound and important I regard the game we are about to play to be. I then say to you, "Right, LuckyR, you move first." Straight away you think, "Huh? WTF?", because naturally you don't know - you have no idea at all - what to do. The reason you don't know what to do is, of course, because the the LIMITING parameters of the game have not been defined. In consequence of this, you are automatically stunned by your infinite freedom into complete immobility. You are astonished - astounded (!)- and the reason you feel this visceral sensation of "paralysis" is because you have instinctively grasped the fact that in the absence of serious constraint there can be NO CHOICE, NO FREEDOM, NO EXISTENCE - this realisation (not surprisingly) shocks you to the core and "freezes" you up. Think about it. The point of the mind game is to demonstrate how it is -( I believe) - fundamentally true that limitation, is a necessary condition of human BEING; that is, if we lacked limitation we simply would not exist. What is also fundamentally true of human existence is that we (human beings) are all innately vulnerable; and we are vulnerable precisely because we are inherently limited, finite creatures. To be "vulnerable" means to be exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically, emotionally or spiritually. It is certainly not a happy thing to be "vulnerable". The fundamental vulnerability of the human condition is definitely no laughing matter. Let me try unpack the issue for you a bit more as follows.

I''m a parent, and most parents would agree with me when I say that when you have your own kids, the reality of the fundamental vulnerability of human beings is made manifest to you in a very intimate and powerful way. To continue, I have a son, he's grown up now, but when he was little - when he was an infant and a toddler and while he was a young child, etc; - I remember how I had keep a constant eye on him and to chase around after him all all the time to make sure I kept him safe. I was, like any parent of a young child, always worried ( terrified) that he could get into some kind of real trouble, that he could hurt himself, that someone could harm him if I didn't make sure that I always tried to take the very best care of him that I possibly could - he was so vulnerable. Having a young child of your own is it is a HUGE responsibility, it's often very difficult, it very typically involves a tremendous amount of hard work. Just looking after one toddler, can comprehensively exhaust you physically and emotionally, 24/7, day in and day out every week.There are times you look at your 3- year- old boy and you know that in his life people are going to be mean to him and treat him badly/unfairly, you know that he will experience so many of crushing disappointments in his life, you know that he will experience the unsupportable grief of loss when those he loves most die, and it hurts you. But for all the hard work, the constant worry , the sleepless nights, the heavy weight of responsibility that presses down upon you, the pain of knowing that you cannot protect them from the harsh realities of life they will encounter in the future, when you have a young child you think they are just so absolutely perfect- they seem so perfect to you, and I guess this profound/vivid awareness of your helpless newborn baby, - of your vulnerable 2- year- old -being so perfect is like a kind of compensation you receive for all of the hard work and worry and stress that is involved in looking after them when they are little.

To continue, Let's suppose, then, that I wanted to do something about the constant worry and work that is a consequence of my young 2 -year-old toddler son's vulnerability. Let's say I wanted to inflate him , so that he was 20 feet tall and then no one could ever pick on him or bully him, that I could fit him out with a stainless steel skeleton and titanium exoskeleton so that nothing could hurt him, that I could install a high-tech, computerised intelligence system in him that gave him an IQ far in excess of what a 3-year old generally has; - that I could, in short, hypothetically remove all of his vulnerabilities one by one. ( Might I say BTW that to a certain extent , it seems like we are indeed moving towards this kind of position now with the extraordinary progress that modern technology is making !). But, to get to the point, what I realised - what occurred to me - was that as I removed the vulnerabilities of my young 2-year-old son, I would also, in the very same process be removing the thing that I loved . And when this hit me, I thought to myself "WTF ??!!" - why is it that THIS is what would happen (because I knew for absolute certain that it WAS what would happen ); what on Earth, I wondered, is the meaning of this ?( because it must, naturally, have some meaning !)

Thinking about it, I figured out what it that meaning was It was simply this - that vulnerability must be a pre-condition for human being, and that it must also be a desirable pre-condition because all of the things that are most wonderful about human existence and most remarkable are so integrally tied up with vulnerability that they are actually inextricable. And why are we vulnerable ? We are vulnerable because we are intrinsically limited. Our vulnerability is a direct consequence of the reality of our human finitude - of the essential "limitedness" of the human condition,and, as I tried to explain above, the fundamental existential consequence of our "limitedness" ( ie. of the boundedness and "restrictedness" our human finitude) is the ongoing experience of suffering . Briefly, when our human "limitedness" is pressed directly up against - when it "clashes" up against" - the infinite; which is, as I say, something that is indeed taking place every moment of our lives - (that is, in fact, an ongoing interaction throughout every second, minute, hour , day, month and year of our time on this Earth , from the moment we are born to the day we die) it conspicuously manifests itself in our experience ( ie. existentially) as insufficiency, as lack, as inadequacy, as deficiency, as privation; in short, AS SUFFERING.

Finally, let's go back to the Torah commentary I mentioned earlier , i.e. the notion that what the infinite lacks is the finite. There's a more abstract way of getting at the same thing... Think to yourself how if you could do absolutely anything you wanted to do at any point; if you could be anywhere you wanted; if you could be anything you wanted to be - if there was literally nothing at all out of your reach, then there would also be nothing for you to do, because you'd be everything at once; and when you're everything at once - (which is, at least in principle, the position of God) - then there's no STORY; and when there's no story, there is no BEING, because there is something about being that IS a story. My point is that without limitation, and the vulnerability and suffering that limitation consequently confer on us, there is NO STORY - NO (HUMAN) BEING, Given this, our position becomes as follows... Is there such as way to conduct your life that the intrinsic vulnerability-suffering that characterises your existence as a human being is rendered no only acceptable, but desirable? ... I think that THIS is the central question of human existence.

So, I am saying that humans are vulnerable and that is tragic, but if tragedy, and the experience of suffering that accompanies it is the price we pay for existence then so be it ( if existence is justified). Humans are permanently, hopelessly flawed beings, so happiness is a pointless goal. What we need to search for instead is proper MEANING; - not meaning for it's own sake -, but meaning as a defense against the reality of of suffering that is inherent in our existence as human beings.

We are one this Earth to suffer - ( BELIEVE IT ,LuckyR) -, and given this is our inescapable destiny, it seems to me one must learn to suffer like a man and not like a whipped dog.. This entails a personal commitment to the search for proper meaning and that is something that requires extraordinary moral courage. What I am talking about ( in the notion of a search for proper meaning) is not at all the same thing as the idea of searching for happiness. It's all well and good to think that the real meaning of life is happiness that our true purpose is to pursue happiness , but if that is the case, then what happens when you are unhappy ? Does it mean that you have now become a failure - perhaps even a suicidal failure?

Happiness is a great side effect, but that's all. When it comes we should be grateful; but the fact is that happiness only ever comes fleetingly and unpredictably. It's not something to aim for, because it is not an aim, it's not a goal. Happiness is basically like a box of chocolates - it's just not going to do the job. But really this is all something that would require a lengthy discussion in itself just for me to begin doing the issue ( of happiness as a false goal) some small justice and I think this post is already quite long enough, so I will have to leave it for another day.



Regards

Dachshund

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by chewybrian » August 27th, 2018, 10:27 am

Newme wrote:
August 26th, 2018, 11:09 pm
I see a conflict (or paradox?) in the idea that desire is suffering, because desire is also happiness.
I think the crusty old stoics have the answer. Your desires and aversions must be aligned with nature and with what is in your control in order for things to work out for you. If you desire a cigarette, you will suffer, whether you have a cigarette or not. If you are averse to eating, like an anorexic, you will suffer, whether you eat or not. If you are averse to heroin, and you desire to go for a walk, then you can pretty well always have these things work out in your favor, because you set up your desires and aversions in accordance with nature and within the scope of your control.

If you (mistakenly!) believe that you have no control over your desires and aversions, then you are bound to suffer.

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Fooloso4 » August 27th, 2018, 11:51 am

Dachshund:
There is a Jewish commentary on the Torah, where a question is posed, which for all intents and purposes boils down to something like this: "ONGod is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. But what does He lack?"
Can you reference this? It sounds more like Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, than commentary. According to Kabbalah, the God of the Bible, the knowable God, the God that is given attributes such as omnipotence, is not ‘Ein Sof’, the infinite, unknowable God, but rather, ‘sefirot’, manifestations of Ein Sof. According to this tradition, in order to create the world, the first act,‘Tzimtzumto’, is Ein Sof’s withdrawal, by limiting itself, it creates an empty space to make room for the world.

Suppose I say to you: "OK, LuckyR, right now you and I are going to play a game … “... you move first." Straight away you think, "Huh? WTF?", because naturally you don't know - you have no idea at all - what to do.The reason you don't know what to do is, of course, because the the LIMITING parameters of the game have not been defined. In consequence of this, you are automatically stunned by your infinite freedom into complete immobility. You are astonished - astounded (!)- and the reason you feel this visceral sensation of "paralysis" is because you have instinctively grasped the fact that in the absence of serious constraint there can be NO CHOICE, NO FREEDOM, NO EXISTENCE
Some games are played by established rules, others make them up as you go along. Part of the game here might be deciding what game is being played. Since Lucky is to move first and no rules have been established he is free to do whatever he wants, but is constrained by what he is capable of doing and perhaps by conscience and social and ethical rules. If he stares back at you that becomes part of the game. If he leaves that may be part of the game or the end of the game. Whatever he does becomes part of the game, unless you object and say that is not how the game is played. Does that too become part of the game? The game of trying to figure out how the game is to be played?

It is absurd to think that because the rules of the game have not been established that the freedom to choose leads to the absence of choice. Or that not knowing what options are available as part of the game will lead to paralysis. Some people though do have problems acting without being told how to act.
So, I am saying that humans are vulnerable and that is tragic
It is also comic. Vulnerability engenders love, both in the sense of allowing oneself to be vulnerable and as a response to the vulnerability of others..
Humans are permanently, hopelessly flawed beings, so happiness is a pointless goal.
Happiness is only a pointless goal if you think permanently, hopelessly flawed beings cannot or should not be happy.
What we need to search for instead is proper MEANING; - not meaning for it's own sake -, but meaning as a defense against the reality of of suffering that is inherent in our existence as human beings.
The search for meaning can also be a source of suffering, and can lead to tragedy not only for the one who seeks meaning but for the one who thinks he has found MEANING and imposes it on others.

I prefer humor, humility, and the enjoyment of simple pleasures that life has to offer.

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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by Luxin » August 27th, 2018, 7:38 pm

Dear Newme! Great you're here!
Newme wrote:
August 26th, 2018, 11:09 pm
I see a conflict (or paradox?) in the idea that desire is suffering, because desire is also happiness. Some study found that people are not as happy achieving their goal as they are in desiring and moving toward it.
Yeah, one's journey-through-time's ideal fulfillment of one's (higher) desires every moment is more important than a future destination in time that most cannot be sure of. A good point, thanks. Jim Carrey reminded us that all we really have is the present moment. The ideal is to have that long string of moments all as happy or fulfilling as possible.

I too see the inconsistency in the idea that suffering is caused by desire, the implication (in Buddhism's four NTs) being that desire is inferior and to be avoided. Constructive desires are natural. However, a frustrated desire can result in suffering. Those who fear physical restriction will have an unhappy response to it. (desire for freedom <= BLOCKED => suffering).

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SUMMARY re Buddhism's Four Noble Truths (NT):
I just learned that the four NT are rules effectively written for celibate Buddhist monks and nuns -- with the exception of groups in Japan and Tibet. It is believed that enlightenment -- Nibbana, "a state in which there is no sexual desire" -- can only be reached by the monks and nuns. Buddha advised lay people to just avoid "sexual misconduct".

" ... most who choose to practice Buddhism as ordained monks and nuns, also choose to live in celibacy. Sex is seen as a serious monastic transgression. ... In the case of monasticism, abstaining completely from sex is seen as a necessity in order to reach enlightenment". ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_sexuality ).

"The Buddhist concept ( https://www.school-for-champions.com/re ... 4JuXbgRWUl ) is that desire causes suffering and the cessation of desire removes suffering". [ I interpreted this from the page author's intro: "The Second Truth is that this suffering is caused by selfish craving and personal desire" and Noble Truths 2 & 3 which I didn't originally include, and didn't check for logic. Doh! ]

Here's the full text of Noble Truths (NT) 2 and 3:
"2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases"
"Attachment" suggests 'devotion to', 'binding to' or 'obsession with'.

The intro's NT2 concept = desire causes suffering, or "selfish craving and personal desire" cause suffering.
The NT2 concept below = "attachment to desires" causes suffering.

"In the Buddha's first discourse he identifies craving (tanha) as the cause of suffering (dukkha)". Here we have the closer-to-source tanha/craving (eager desire, longing) causing dukkha (suffering). Simply having desires or cravings causes suffering? No, as you imply. If one is afraid of one's desires -- Yes, I think that could be called suffering :lol: . Fear of desire could be the essence of a desire=>suffering paradox, Newme.

An interesting extra in the intro's NT2 is "selfish craving", which implies that such is somehow bad. Not judging here; just wondering what the mindset is with "selfish craving". As an attempt to interpret the possible context in Buddhist thought of all the stated causative elements in NT2:

"selfish craving and personal desire"; and
"attachment to desires".

I recognized "selfish craving" as indicative of fearing and spurning desire (such is compelled, no one's to blame). But of course, celibacy.

I tried celibacy briefly and concluded long term is not for me; short term is OK --- long term.... :shock: A fear of the opposite sex is clear in Hindu celibacy :( . There are many accounts of Catholic priests' great difficulties and failure.

I confirmed that Buddhist monks and nuns are required to be celibate at ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_sexuality ). Buddha taught that attaining enlightenment was impossible without celibacy. I disagree.
Buddha's words on avoiding sexual desires: "So one, always mindful, should avoid sexual desires. Letting them go, he will cross over the flood like one who, having bailed out the boat, has reached the far shore (Nibbana)".
Avoiding all sexual desire is impossible for even a sick person, as such is the strongest desire there is; avoiding sexual activity is possible.

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Lastly, returning to the topic of frustrated desire resulting in suffering, Number's concept is that if a soul number in a name is a quality of love ("3", "6", or "9"), and the name's expression number is not a number of love (like the "7"), there is a suppression of the love force (relative to desire) from the soul number which has a negative or unhappy effect.

Yours, Luxin

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LuckyR
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Re: WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF HUMAN LIFE ?

Post by LuckyR » August 28th, 2018, 5:58 pm

Dachshund wrote:
August 27th, 2018, 7:43 am
LuckyR wrote:
August 26th, 2018, 2:26 am
Huh? Suffering is a relative term. Like beautiful or heavy. What about hunger? For food, money, power. Similarly we have all felt satiated. We have all felt comfort, so... where does that leave suffering? Nowhere, of course. Just as you can't appreciate pleasure without experiencing pain, we've all got to experience both ends of the spectrum. Thus it is overly simplistic to employ one end of a relative term as if the other pole doesn't exist.


LuckyR,

What is the nature of human being?

I think the essential existential condition of human being is such that it consists of a confrontation - a "clash", if you like - between the finite ( i.e. the bounded and limited) and the infinite ( the limitless, the unbounded). This is a basic fact of the matter re the human condition.

The world of lived experience as it presents itself to us is literally - not metaphorically - unimaginably complex; it is so incredibly, astonishingly complex that it is- as you know - WAY. beyond our capacity to understand. Why is this the case? What is the meaning of this incomprehensible complexity What it basically means is that we (human beings) are all in the predicament of being finite (limited, unbounded) entities who are forced to deal on an ongoing basis with the infinite ( the limitless, the unbounded); and our finiteness, our limitedness, in the face of the infinite has some inevitable consequences. These consequences are the essential existential conditions of life. The first consequence is that the finite is always overwhelmed by the infinite it has to face because it simply can't encapsulate it; and what this means is that suffering is central to the nature of human existence. BTW, when I use the terms limited/limitedness to characterise human finitude, I am intending them to connote the meanings conveyed by such (legitimate) synonyms as: inadequacy; insufficiency; neediness; dearth; lack; unavailability; deficiency and privation. I mean in the sense that when we experience a conscious awareness of neediness, of insufficiency , of deficiency, of privation we call what we feel "suffering". This is what I mean when I say that human suffering exists as a direct consequence (of the consequence of) our limitations - i.e. of our innate human finitude. And we are indeed finite beings, are we not ? I am sure you will agree that we know full well that we do not possess infinite knowledge - and that we do not live forever. I mean, it's true, isn't it that every single person who is alive IS going to perish, -there's absolutely no escaping the tragic fact that we are "born to die". Moreover, is it not the case thatevery single person who's alive IS going to deal with serious physical illness and mental distress ; even if they don't suffer it directly and immediately right now on their own, it's almost inevitably a fact that every single person who walks the Earth is confronting the bare bones of reality at that level in the guise of a family member or friend... The fact of our finitude - our limitedness - is not an academic issue, it is essential to the nature of our being and we are FORCED to deal with it on an ongoing basis because we are in a situation where the infinite is, to use the vernacular, presses itself "right in our face" - "right up close and personal" .

In short, limitation, is built into human experience and suffering is an ongoing, inescapable and essential existential consequence of the fact. What I'm trying to explain is difficult to grasp,( well it certainly was for me, to begin with) so let me try and express the basic idea in simpler, more lucid terms for you...

Consider this...There is a Jewish commentary on the Torah, where a question is posed, which for all intents and purposes boils down to something like this: "ONGod is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. But what does He lack?" The answer, we are told, is LIMITATION. For me, that's a riddle and an answer of unparalleled brilliance, because I think it speaks directly to something about the core nature of existence itself, and that is that without limitation there can be no being. Like I say, its a tricky concept to properly grasp and understand, so let me try to explain it to you like this as well...

Suppose I say to you: "OK, LuckyR, right now you and I are going to play a game, and I want you to take it dead seriously, right?" You say, " Sure, that's fine, Dachshund, let's do it." I then stare at you - I make intense, solemn eye-contact with you and say nothing. I allow this silent, "pregnant pause" to simmer for say 10 seconds in order to convey to you a sense of how very profound and important I regard the game we are about to play to be. I then say to you, "Right, LuckyR, you move first." Straight away you think, "Huh? WTF?", because naturally you don't know - you have no idea at all - what to do. The reason you don't know what to do is, of course, because the the LIMITING parameters of the game have not been defined. In consequence of this, you are automatically stunned by your infinite freedom into complete immobility. You are astonished - astounded (!)- and the reason you feel this visceral sensation of "paralysis" is because you have instinctively grasped the fact that in the absence of serious constraint there can be NO CHOICE, NO FREEDOM, NO EXISTENCE - this realisation (not surprisingly) shocks you to the core and "freezes" you up. Think about it. The point of the mind game is to demonstrate how it is -( I believe) - fundamentally true that limitation, is a necessary condition of human BEING; that is, if we lacked limitation we simply would not exist. What is also fundamentally true of human existence is that we (human beings) are all innately vulnerable; and we are vulnerable precisely because we are inherently limited, finite creatures. To be "vulnerable" means to be exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically, emotionally or spiritually. It is certainly not a happy thing to be "vulnerable". The fundamental vulnerability of the human condition is definitely no laughing matter. Let me try unpack the issue for you a bit more as follows.

I''m a parent, and most parents would agree with me when I say that when you have your own kids, the reality of the fundamental vulnerability of human beings is made manifest to you in a very intimate and powerful way. To continue, I have a son, he's grown up now, but when he was little - when he was an infant and a toddler and while he was a young child, etc; - I remember how I had keep a constant eye on him and to chase around after him all all the time to make sure I kept him safe. I was, like any parent of a young child, always worried ( terrified) that he could get into some kind of real trouble, that he could hurt himself, that someone could harm him if I didn't make sure that I always tried to take the very best care of him that I possibly could - he was so vulnerable. Having a young child of your own is it is a HUGE responsibility, it's often very difficult, it very typically involves a tremendous amount of hard work. Just looking after one toddler, can comprehensively exhaust you physically and emotionally, 24/7, day in and day out every week.There are times you look at your 3- year- old boy and you know that in his life people are going to be mean to him and treat him badly/unfairly, you know that he will experience so many of crushing disappointments in his life, you know that he will experience the unsupportable grief of loss when those he loves most die, and it hurts you. But for all the hard work, the constant worry , the sleepless nights, the heavy weight of responsibility that presses down upon you, the pain of knowing that you cannot protect them from the harsh realities of life they will encounter in the future, when you have a young child you think they are just so absolutely perfect- they seem so perfect to you, and I guess this profound/vivid awareness of your helpless newborn baby, - of your vulnerable 2- year- old -being so perfect is like a kind of compensation you receive for all of the hard work and worry and stress that is involved in looking after them when they are little.

To continue, Let's suppose, then, that I wanted to do something about the constant worry and work that is a consequence of my young 2 -year-old toddler son's vulnerability. Let's say I wanted to inflate him , so that he was 20 feet tall and then no one could ever pick on him or bully him, that I could fit him out with a stainless steel skeleton and titanium exoskeleton so that nothing could hurt him, that I could install a high-tech, computerised intelligence system in him that gave him an IQ far in excess of what a 3-year old generally has; - that I could, in short, hypothetically remove all of his vulnerabilities one by one. ( Might I say BTW that to a certain extent , it seems like we are indeed moving towards this kind of position now with the extraordinary progress that modern technology is making !). But, to get to the point, what I realised - what occurred to me - was that as I removed the vulnerabilities of my young 2-year-old son, I would also, in the very same process be removing the thing that I loved . And when this hit me, I thought to myself "WTF ??!!" - why is it that THIS is what would happen (because I knew for absolute certain that it WAS what would happen ); what on Earth, I wondered, is the meaning of this ?( because it must, naturally, have some meaning !)

Thinking about it, I figured out what it that meaning was It was simply this - that vulnerability must be a pre-condition for human being, and that it must also be a desirable pre-condition because all of the things that are most wonderful about human existence and most remarkable are so integrally tied up with vulnerability that they are actually inextricable. And why are we vulnerable ? We are vulnerable because we are intrinsically limited. Our vulnerability is a direct consequence of the reality of our human finitude - of the essential "limitedness" of the human condition,and, as I tried to explain above, the fundamental existential consequence of our "limitedness" ( ie. of the boundedness and "restrictedness" our human finitude) is the ongoing experience of suffering . Briefly, when our human "limitedness" is pressed directly up against - when it "clashes" up against" - the infinite; which is, as I say, something that is indeed taking place every moment of our lives - (that is, in fact, an ongoing interaction throughout every second, minute, hour , day, month and year of our time on this Earth , from the moment we are born to the day we die) it conspicuously manifests itself in our experience ( ie. existentially) as insufficiency, as lack, as inadequacy, as deficiency, as privation; in short, AS SUFFERING.

Finally, let's go back to the Torah commentary I mentioned earlier , i.e. the notion that what the infinite lacks is the finite. There's a more abstract way of getting at the same thing... Think to yourself how if you could do absolutely anything you wanted to do at any point; if you could be anywhere you wanted; if you could be anything you wanted to be - if there was literally nothing at all out of your reach, then there would also be nothing for you to do, because you'd be everything at once; and when you're everything at once - (which is, at least in principle, the position of God) - then there's no STORY; and when there's no story, there is no BEING, because there is something about being that IS a story. My point is that without limitation, and the vulnerability and suffering that limitation consequently confer on us, there is NO STORY - NO (HUMAN) BEING, Given this, our position becomes as follows... Is there such as way to conduct your life that the intrinsic vulnerability-suffering that characterises your existence as a human being is rendered no only acceptable, but desirable? ... I think that THIS is the central question of human existence.

So, I am saying that humans are vulnerable and that is tragic, but if tragedy, and the experience of suffering that accompanies it is the price we pay for existence then so be it ( if existence is justified). Humans are permanently, hopelessly flawed beings, so happiness is a pointless goal. What we need to search for instead is proper MEANING; - not meaning for it's own sake -, but meaning as a defense against the reality of of suffering that is inherent in our existence as human beings.

We are one this Earth to suffer - ( BELIEVE IT ,LuckyR) -, and given this is our inescapable destiny, it seems to me one must learn to suffer like a man and not like a whipped dog.. This entails a personal commitment to the search for proper meaning and that is something that requires extraordinary moral courage. What I am talking about ( in the notion of a search for proper meaning) is not at all the same thing as the idea of searching for happiness. It's all well and good to think that the real meaning of life is happiness that our true purpose is to pursue happiness , but if that is the case, then what happens when you are unhappy ? Does it mean that you have now become a failure - perhaps even a suicidal failure?

Happiness is a great side effect, but that's all. When it comes we should be grateful; but the fact is that happiness only ever comes fleetingly and unpredictably. It's not something to aim for, because it is not an aim, it's not a goal. Happiness is basically like a box of chocolates - it's just not going to do the job. But really this is all something that would require a lengthy discussion in itself just for me to begin doing the issue ( of happiness as a false goal) some small justice and I think this post is already quite long enough, so I will have to leave it for another day.



Regards

Dachshund
I do not disagree with your observations, or your first order analysis of them. Though the second order analysis, while a perfectly reasonable analysis, can also be reasonably interpreted differently. Specifically, many say that the world can be divided into means and ends driven individuals. Personally, I can appreciate both outlooks, though I tend toward a means driven attitude. Your analysis, of course is ends oriented. Thus I can look at the identical information and derive a different conclusion. Namely that to me, the struggle you describe is what makes life worth living and so I do not apply a negative descriptor to it (suffering). As to the ultimate end, death. Having seen many of them, I have lost most of the fear and trepidation commonly associated with it, especially as it is often a blessing (when compared to the alternative).
"As usual... it depends."

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