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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21 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 😉

  3. Hi Tano,
    I can agree with your son, reality is scary.
    But could you please elaborate on what you wrote: it stops being scary when one sees it without pink-coloured glasses.

    So, like your son said, we want fiction to escape from reality.
    I take your line to mean that we should stop projecting some rose-coloured ideal onto reality, but accept it for what it is.

    Something someone wrote which stuck with me: I did not make this cookie, but I do have to eat it.
    Refusing to do so is what causes a lot of the grief we experience.
    Is this close to what you meant?


    My first post here, so I’d like to thank you for this website. It has been very entertaining to read all of the articles. And I quite like how you cut through all the B.S., even though it seems quite harsh sometimes from where I’m at right now.

    1. Hi, and you are welcome. Your post went to trash for some reason, and I don’t check the trash bin that often. Restored now.

      It wasn’t my son who said Reality is scary. My son has come to terms with the harsh truths back in his teens.

      It stops being scary for a few reasons:

      1. Emotive reactive side is gone. One becomes immune to opinions, disapproval, judgement of others. You can imagine just how much weight falls off one’s shoulders with just that part.

      2. A person completely internalises own snowflake status, meaning… you are here for a short 50, 60, 70, 80 years and gone. What can beat this fact? What here on Earth can make one scared after this fact has been felt in every bone?

      3. The need to attach to another (anyone, humans attach so very easily) is gone. I personally feel very comfortable with the fact that people come and go, be it moving in and out of my life or moving into death.

      And lots of other ‘side effects’.

      You don’t have to eat the cookie if you don’t like it. But you need to acknowledge the cookie’s existence. That is why perhaps my words here seem harsh to you: I acknowledge the cookie’s existence, whether I like the flavour or not.

      Reality is like that. It IS, and there is not much one can do about its numerous flavours.

      1. Here is where we have not seen the same things nessa. There is no reality apart from perception. The one living in a state of apathy, lack or fear does not live in the same reality as one who consciously chooses to see things in a loving, enthusiastic or serene manner. Until kne realizes this there is no realization to speak of since that person will remain in a state of disenpowerment with the rest of humanity.

        1. Et tu, Justin… a pity.

          If I were to go by the nonsensical ‘there is no reality apart from perception’, then there was never history, no pyramids, no children born, no cave dwelling and the gardens of Babylon, no wars and bombs, no Silicon Valley or Eiffel Tower, no Medici or Schopenhauer no space exploration and Neanderthals… nothing.

          But I know this is simply not true, and the pseudo-neo-advaita bullshit does not wash with me.

          When you pop the clogs – the world will happily carry on without you, whether your perception is there to perceive it or not. The Jeddism stance is a one sided stance of the egocentric origin: if I don’t exist – nothing exists, that C-Rex universe of his. How ironic, given that all these folks talk about ‘no self’, yet, populate the contemporary spiritual culture with.. yes, you guessed it – plenty of Self, big BIG portions of Self.


          1. No one said that the things themselves cease to be but the way in which they are perceived. History is second hand knowledge handed down to you. Someone else’s story. Like I said the realities of enthusiasm and apathy cannot be any farther apart in contrast. Prime example is what you wrote above. That is not my reality, nor jeds… its yours. Where does this go when you die? It’s a fine a valid way of seeing things but it is not a given. It’s a choice but only at a certain level of clarity. Do you see? Most do not. That is the difference.

            As for me you can save the pity for those who dont see quite as clearly that I am not burdened by anything. Its simply not possible at this stage of the game.

        2. Can you please be more careful with what you express? Look at these two of yours:
          ‘there is no reality apart from perception’
          “No one said that the things themselves cease to be but the way in which they are perceived.”

          They contradict one another, or, more precisely, the first is an incomplete and, thus, misleading expression.

          I have no idea why you talk about enthusiasm and apathy as two opposing things. Both are present in life.

          Second hand knowledge does not mean ‘not true’. I tend to believe there is a space station orbiting the Earth right now. It is ‘second hand’, but I have good reasons to believe it is true to factual reality. You seem to think that a human being can go through life without ANY beliefs. That is simply not possible. While relying on direct experience of my own is the best way, it is not possible that I will one day go into space, hence, I choose to believe those who did make that journey and came back to tell the tale.

          You tend to overcomplicate things immensely. From the perspective of mind – yes. But I do not live from that anymore, even though my mind is a tool. A good one at that.

          1. I dont see the contradiction nessa. A reality is constructed by a perception. An identity. A time and a space. Through a mind. Enthusiasm, love ect are ways of constructing such a reality as are fear hate ect. Neutral items do not do anything. Out there is a blank slate. So all I am saying is there is no ” reality as is” like you keep saying only what you make of it. That’s a choice although seemingly only grasped by a few…

            The mind can be a wonderful tool and like any took it can be put away when it’s no longer needed…be well.

  4. “A reality is constructed by a perception. An identity. A time and a space. Through a mind. Enthusiasm, love ect are ways of constructing such a reality as are fear hate ect. Neutral items do not do anything. Out there is a blank slate. So all I am saying is there is no ” reality as is” like you keep saying only what you make of it.”

    A PERFECT neo advaita, ‘nondual’ understanding, and I do understand it perfectly. BUT. No realism.

    Justin…. Reality is NOT CONSTRUCTED by perception. It is PERCEIVED by perception. Grasp the difference.

  5. Nessa,

    Reality is in fact constructed by use of perception. I’ve experienced this in my own life enroute to higher degrees of success and overall well being. This is done by being conscious and deliberate of what you are creating.

    Dont take my word for it though. You can demonstrate this to yourself the next time you walk into a meeting, the beach a club ect…make sure you feel like a failure beforehand, know that people there dont ljke you, that you dont like them, that this isn’t going to go well and it’s a complete waste of time. See how that goes…

    Then reverse that. Same situation except you’re feeling good, feel confident, enthusiastic, passionate, like the people there, laugh with them, enjoy their company, know that you are going to be well no matter what, enjoy the process and watch the two completely different outcomes unfold.

    Who did that? Was that just ” reality as is?” Its not lol. This is the most empowering thing you can ever stumble upon and it can be embraced or one can be a skeptic and their reality will confirm that too. But I’m not really here to convince any one of anything. I’m in the know and will leave that where it belongs…with them.

    1. This above is much clearer. I got your point from the first post, but wanted you to spell it out in full.

      I certainly agree that mental states can have a bearing on outcomes. “First, there was Word”, or THOUGHT. Everything we see around, from the Golden Gate bridge to newly born babies is the result of such Reality/Me circle, a thought born in the mind of another human that translated into Reality.

      The Yin-Yang symbol is attempting to represent this: if you notice within the black part is a white dot, and within the white part is the black dot. Brahman is Atman, Atman is Brahman. Action creates personal Reality (Atman) within the impersonal one, but impersonal Reality (Brahman) exists outside of my personal action. In and out of one another.

      Ah feck… it got tangled straight up. This understanding is quite hard to place in words. Jed played with it too; we all at some point go back to thousand years old utterances and view them in a completely new light. It is quite amazing actually, to see how internally accessible the old texts suddenly become. Clear.

      I think you and I have a different understanding of what ‘Reality’ means. Mine is the exact dictionary definition:

      the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. “he refuses to face reality”
      he state or quality of having existence or substance. “youth, when death has no reality”

      You speak of notional ideas in your examples, perceptions of what is real that exist in one’s head. They can certainly be changed, but that is the level of self-help books, another kind of re-programming the mind from the so called negative thinking into positive thinking.

      This, however, was not my point. My point was to step OUT of any mind conditioning. Beyond normal human cognitive functioning there exists no ‘failure’ or ‘success’ dichotomy. I can tell you from experiencing this now that these dichotomies simply do not enter my mind anymore. Gone. Non existent, because they were never true (real) to begin with.

      My toothache is real.

      There truly is a beyond level of functioning when much of what excites or motivates human beings is simply not there. Balance. And I still get passionate about things, but mental evaluations that usually accompany any action or thought – are gone. Vanished.

      Passion without pain.

  6. Ah well things come through better when I focus attention on them exclusively. My apologies for multi tasking while posting yesterday.

    The current understanding is borne of that philosophy you speak of. I’m not sure what jed played with or where this took him. I also do not know what the dictionary says about reality. “Reality” is simply “what is experienced as real” Thoughts come and go as any amateur meditator can attest. Thoughts have some say in the matter but at a deeper level reality is not constructed at the level of thought but at the level of being. As how.

    You acknowledge that your own goal to “step out of mind conditioning ” is nonsensical as no one can “go through life without beliefs.” Well then, what you believe, what is confirmed in your reality is mostly influenced by your state of being in said experience of reality. Aka “life.” You’re never far removed. The question here is level of awareness that it is even possible to alter reality through your state of being. That you dont get what you want but who you are. We can now laugh at the debate on free will. It’s one of human’s greatest attributes if only they claim it. To say that one does not have control over such faculties, as to how they are being and where they focus attention is kinda pathetic really. Are we all A.D.D kids? Robots? Not hardly.

    The “level beyond” is the launching point. Not the destination. Not a place to pitch your tent. Not a place to maintain no desire. It’s a place that you discover that nothing is predetermined. Ways of being and experiencing are not locked in somewhere in the genetic code. Therefore if you alter that you will experience a different outcome every time. If you don’t appreciate life, dont be surprised when life doesn’t seem to appreciate you. Kinda like a “toothache” that can either be a real bitch or is seemingly just trying to tell you something and with a little attention (possibly due to a lack of it), could easily be addressed. I wonder if there are people like that? That have fallen ill or are diseased(due to a certain amount of neglect) that just could use a little care and attention. I’ll never understand the disdain for self. What else does one even have?

    Anyways, you strike me as being rather antagonistic nessa. I was as well at one point but it’s no coincidence that an antagonistic person experiences antagonism. I’ve learned to flow with things a bit better and in doing so giving up resistance. I dont resist. I accept and if necessary decide for something else. I wouldn’t neglect self and if I were in a state of pain I would simply do something about it. This isn’t about positive thinking. Its about consciously deciding for something and owning your attention in a way that seems to be uncommon these days. Focusing on better ways of being. I prefer to be easy and so my life and all success is derived from that. I dont experience pain because I’m not looking for it. I experienced love and well being because…well, I’m being well.

    Passion, enthusiasm, confidence, creativity, and love are not just “thoughts and mental constructs” Theyre the long sought after treasure used to liberate one from suffering. To actually enjoy “further.” What good was the journey if after all you’ve gained and are maintaining nothing. As I look around at jeds, platos and now here I see abundant attitudes of apathy, meaninglessnes, joyless expressions of nihilism and despair. I feel like I’m the only one to have emerged from the crypt with the treasure. Okay. Doesn’t make sense but its understood that with great power comes great responsibility. I’m grateful.

    Love ya, 😙

  7. A misleading statement that should actually be “with great responsibility comes great power”


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