Seeking Is Endeavour Of The Privileged

I once expressed it somewhere that the modern day phenomenon of spiritual ‘search’, in the way it takes place in attending satsangs, in reading books, in involved online exchanges, in following this ‘guru’ or that ‘guru’, in banding up together into little communities – is the endeavour of the privileged and the well-fed. The hungry have no time to debate the question of own existence. Most great philosophers were men of status, not plagued by dilemmas of immediate physical survival. They had connections, resources and time to contemplate the big questions of life.

Plato – a wealthy Athenian political family

Thomas Aquinas – born to a well-healed castle owner

Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha) – son of a chieftain with own little kingdom

Rene Descartes – his father was a middle class member of local parliament

Immanuel Kant – son of a small business owner

Ramana Maharshi – a Brahmin (top social class) family

Friedrich Nietzsche – a son of pastor

U.G. Krishnamurti – family of upper class lawyers

etc. etc. etc.

These kids had regular meals and good, sometimes exceptionally good, education. And education means gaining mental faculties to ask questions beyond own everyday existence, one of which pertains to the nature of man. All philosophies and all religious denominations are essentially about addressing this one question: what is man? A great diversity of cultural backgrounds and personal histories of every man who had asked that same question throughout history resulted in a multitude of ‘spiritual’ flavours, of which the most persistent one is ‘enlightenment’ or kensho, or bodhi, or prajna, or truth realisation, or.. whatever. Every culture and every language has some word pointing to the fact that a human being has the innate ability to begin to see the world as is.

BUT. Slowly from a thoughtful personal inquiry of the Buddha and rationally inclined mind of Plato the search for understanding of own human nature turned into a mystical roadshow, where work-lazy roadies of the first visionaries began to peddle own half-digested ideas, and are still doing it to this day. It applies to travelling charlatans of India who perform ‘magic’ tricks to persuade their ignorant audience of the siddhi ‘powers’ as the true measure of Enlightenment. It applies to Indian gurus who run ashrams infested with deceit and abuse. It applies to Western, newly minted writers who are sometimes genuinely fooled into thinking they have ‘attained’ something worthy of writing about, and sometimes are simply in it for the coin. Humans shall be humans, right?

Construction And what about those who had no privileges? The least educated have no time to question. They are more concerned with questions of immediate survival and how to put bread on the table in the absence of any form of social security. All tales are accepted at face value and never questioned. The least developed societies are riddled with superstition and mysticism as is evident here in Cambodia. I mean.. here many sincerely believe in the physical existence of unicorns and dragons. UNICORNS!! and most believe in ghosts and spirits. But I am talking about the country whose intellectual potential was decimated by the Khmer Rouge. What about you, Western ‘educated’ folks? You may not believe in unicorns, but how about all the contemporary beliefs around ‘non duality’?

Advaita Vedanta, a crippled version of which Jed McKenna presented in his books (whether he admits to that or not) has never denied the existence of self, for to deny it would be to deny the self evident truth – that you exist. It needs no proof and no mathematical equations. ‘No Self’ was discussed ONLY in the context of a fake mental image of self, and in no way as denial of self existence. Neither did Advaita Vedanta deny the existence of the world, or ‘Brahman’ in their terminology. Using Sanskrit terms only adds to the mysticism of something so very simple, and Western minds overcomplicated a simple knowing to the point of it becoming unrecognisable and beyond any understanding.

Jed had certainly consumed some of that cool aid in his early stages of exploration. I hope he got wiser and more realistic, but realism does not sell well. As one of my fifteen year olds said recently ‘Reality is scary, that’s why I want fiction’. Bravo to Realness! But with one proviso: it stops being scary when one sees it without pink-coloured glasses. It is those glasses that make Reality scary and incomprehensible.

The Unknown that has become known – is like a stranger that has become a friend.

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8 thoughts on “Seeking Is Endeavour Of The Privileged

  1. « The hungry have no time to debate the question of own existence. »

    That’s not true.

    Because someone struggles to fill his stomach doesn’t mean he has no brain or no mind to see the world, to ask questions to himself, to question what he has been told.

    One can have nothing and be « rich ». « Richness » is not about what’s on your bank account or how much you eat everyday. You can be the poorest human on earth in terms of money and be richer than a billionaire. « Richer » because fullfilled in the chore of your conscience, your human existence, chasing nothing, just satisfied to be alive, compared to a millionnaire that is not satisfied, that feels empty, that wants one million more.

    I’m sure you know Diogenes.

    « The least educated have no time to question. »

    Of course they have, you can’t deny the poor to have a brain, even if someone works very hard to survive, that doesn’t mean he can’t think if he wants to, if he has the desire to, if he has the faculties to.

    In fact, the real injustice in the possibility of finding out the « truth » is not how much money you have, or in which context you were brought up, but it’s the functionning of your brain. your intelligence.

    The genetics, that’s the injustice. Nobody chooses how intelligent he is. And « wisdom » for instance is one aspect of intelligence, one type of intelligence. Nobody chooses how wise he is.

    That’s the « injustice ». And if someone is not happy with that injustice, he has to blame « nature » not mankind, not the « intelligent people », even less the « rich people ».

    It’s a matter of luck to be intelligent or not, to be « more aware » or « wiser » than the human being setting next to you.

    When you see that, Tano, when you see nobody chooses how his mind works, then you are aware that nobody chooses nothing…

    And that to be proud to be intelligent would be stupid, as stupid as being ashamed of being stupid. We don’t choose.

    1. Who said anything about no brain in those with no material resources? I said – no time.

      Cedric, you need to learn to read what is actually written, instead of substituting another’s words with your own perceptions and then going into ‘battle’ over it.

      And so regarding ‘no time’…. I take it you never worked the fields as the only source of your survival. Try, for perhaps 12 hours a day, a hard physical labour from an early age, with no access to any sort of education.

      It should put things in a different perspective. I grew up in poverty, even when, as a child, I didn’t perceive it as such. But the lack was stark, and the place was a shithole. Now I see abject poverty around me. When privileged white folks speak with authority about spirit and truth when they have never gone hungry – it makes me shrug. What the hell do they know… but they surely know how to ‘suffer’ from own Minds.

      Boohoo.. Information overload, me thinks.

      On the subject of intelligence.. I made myself thus by asking self questions. I asked questions, because the world around me as I saw it- made no sense to me. Still doesn’t, but at least now I know why. Intelligence is about using whatever nature gave one – with the most efficiency and also surpassing that by way of learning. There is no one to blame. Everyone is capable of learning.

      1. « Truth » is not a matter of time. « Truth » is not linked with time.

        It takes one second, one instant, whatever you are doing, working in the field, or on a boat, or in a factory. It can hit anybody anywhere.

        Poverty has nothing to do with « truth » or « being real » or « being aware » or whatever you call the fact of being totally alive without any restrictions or limits.

        Poverty is not a limit.

        And being hungry is nothing. It’s not linked with « truth ».

        What is limiting a human being are the chains in his head, the conditionings, he can be poor or rich, have « time » or not, hungry or not, it doesn’t matter, it is not linked with poverty or richness.

        And again, it has nothing to do with time. Truth doesn’t need time. In fact, time does not even exist. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, you are alive, Truth can hit you. Period.

        You don’t agree, Tano ? I’m fine with that. I just wanted to react to some of the things you wrote that I don’t agree with.

        PS : I see no battles here. What could battle what ? I’m not words. 😉

        1. Remember how Jed wrote that people read Bhagavat Gita as a story and do not connect any of it to their everyday life, do not see it as something that applies to them – very directly? It is THEIR story, but people never make it their own, never wear it.

          That is you, Cedric. From what you write – everything is still theoretical to you. No links to real Life, no dots connected in your head, no vision, all a bookish ‘understanding’. Lots of charged passion and not much thoughtfulness.

          1. Hi Tano,

            How to communicate to you that there is no passion in the words I wrote and write here, no battle, I’m very peaceful, how to make you see and feel that ? 🙂

            Maybe it’s just impossible. It’s like you are at war inside of you, interiorly, (with the world in general ? With the human kind ? When men ?) and as long as you are, you will see « passion » and « emotions » and « battle » in my words.

            I don’t think I can do anything, it’s all up to you.

            What I can tell you is that what I say, what I write comes from me, not from books, I don’t care about books, about what other human beings think, or have think in the past centuries, I don’t need the thoughts of other human beings.

            By the way, don’t you see the funny irony : you say I’m « bookish » but you are the one mentioning what you read in a book…

            I’m not involved in a battle against you or your words. I just like to share what I think is true.

            But, again, I think I can’t do anything to make you see I’m peaceful.

            You are discussing interesting subjects here, that’s why I’m here. And I think you can handle the fact that somebody is not agreeing with you on some subjects, that’s why I talk and share what I think is true. But of course nobody must believe me, you must not believe me, everybody has to see by himself, I will never be a « guru » or a « teacher ».

            Peace, Tano.

  2. One can also learn to remain unresponsive to seeming contradictions regarding such as purely illusory, resulting in a strengthening in will power and an overall smoother existence. But to do so would also be to honor the free will of another and yourself and after all “going to battle” is just so much more entertaining and besides…I am apparently both rich and wealthy by definition so what do I know 😉

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