'I am not this but I will be that. I am not good but I will be better.' A personal reflection on becoming

I guess this depends on how you define suffering. If suffering is pain, it would seem to have a life independently from ego-self. If suffering is a creation of self, then sure: No self, no suffering.

Okay this seems to say that you consider the process of self to be synonymous with suffering. A Buddhist attitude, right? Dukkha is always present, until enlightenment. No self, no suffering.

I think we all agree that physical pain is an inevitable consequence of being human. Does the same hold for emotional pain?

Yes, since we have nothing better to do than argue…

A reasonable attitude (rather than a Buddhist attitude) based on all indications (from all psychological and neurological sciences, be they traditional or modern) and from an understanding of the model, combined with our shared experience. Nothing (as far as I know) indicates the contrary.

We could once again go over all this together, where I lay out the simple 1+1=2 model of suffering and self - but lets try asking what your point is instead.

What are you trying to say? That the simple basic demonstrable model of self is merely a story (not fundamental truth) - thus not to be taken seriously? That there are pleasant bits to the self experience? What? Are you encouraging “don’t know mind” as in freedom from all stories?

How so? Why - what do you mean?

No. Emotional pain is what the confused, conflicted brain experiences when its illusions are not supported by actuality.

I see our sense of self as a mixed bag: good-creative-energizing and bad-destructive-stultifying. I think the planet and its inhabitants would benefit from an intelligent taming of our sense of self. And this is doable, whereas full freedom from self seems more in the realm of wishful thinking.

I mean even those we consider enlightened get the occasional headache or emotional glitch.

My intuition tells me that emotional pain is as universal for human beings as breathing. An intelligent person would probably have less emotional pain than an unintelligent person. But fully free from emotional pain seems like a theoretical construct that is unreachable during life. Perhaps striving for total freedom from emotional pain is a fool’s errand? (Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong?)

Thanks for sharing a new-to-me logical fallacy with me. Sounds like whataboutisms attempt to undermine and possibly derail a point being made in a conversation. I don’t see any whataboutisms when I look at the conversation with Douglas. Could you explain it to me?

I said: If suffering is (defined as) pain, it would seem to have a life independently from ego-self.

Douglas responded: How so? Why - what do you mean?

And I wrote: I mean even those we consider enlightened get the occasional headache or emotional glitch. What I meant is if you define suffering as pain, its existence is not dependent on the presence of self, because even enlightened (self-free) people get pain in the form of headaches and emotional pain.

This is what I addressed earlier

But I’ll try it this way : If we understand that a car engine is a machine that burns fossil fuels in a mechanical system in order to provide torque with the goal of locomotion - simply stating that an engine also has cogs and pulleys and produces vroom vroom sounds would seem to be pointless (would not be a counter argument)

So I will agree the self has got us to the moon, can enjoy pina coladas - artistic confusion and angst has produced fascinating works of art - but thats not an argument against the problem of self.

Besides the point also whether Buddhas get hangnails and how they might deal with it.

More than doable, its the state we’ve been in for thousands of years - memes such as : “thou shalt not kill thy neighbour” have been around for ages.

Because you don’t understand what the buddhas are saying? or you think they’re lying/mistaken? or because of lack of faith in the great mass of Trump voters - and the billions of us that haven’t even been touched by rationality and humanism?

What I recall is that Krishnamurti questions whether there is a need for psychological suffering to exist, he doesn’t simply exclude it. There is this approach to psychological suffering called equanimity, that is, you still have the feeling but it isn’t painful. This doesn’t have to be wishful thinking, as I see it, it comes with a deep understanding of living, perhaps with enlightenment only.

Thanks Jess - I think this has to do with what Rick was wondering about pain and suffering, and how we imagine “buddhas” deal with their own human experience.

It may be useful to speculate (though it is considered naughty in many K circles) :innocent:

Once we have seen clearly what the self is (what I am) and thus we have an acute sense of its effects, we will naturally be more wary of what we are experiencing and its dependance on, and propensity for creating suffering.

But being human carries with it a momentum of genetic and cultural habit (being a horse, a rabbit etc also carries the force of the past).
Habits that wiill continue to arise in all humans - even so called buddhas.

But just as we are very quickly aware of snakes, buddhas will also be quickly aware of
the human experience of resistance, or the fear/desire/knowledge at work.

Experience is a weird thing - it might actually be impossible to be aware of the present moment (maybe because our experience of spacetime is also a projection of the brain).
Awareness changes experience, just as who we are and what we project/see, how we act, changes the world we live in.

Yes, Macdougdoug, I think I understand what you mean about the interdependence between awareness and experience, the quality of one affecting the quality of the other. This may imply as well whether the self may suffer a fundamental transformation and what experiencing the present may mean (as I think you suggest the present without the past/ self may be an impossibility).

Great - I was worried whether I was being too woowoo and mysterious

Is it not simple logic that : An understanding of the self frees us from being unconsciously driven by the delusion of self? (hint : it is very simple logic)

It is also simple logic that : being blindly driven by our evolutionary drives/experience is completely different than insight into, and awareness of the mechanical processes and phenomenon of survival/suffering.

Thus whether this counts as a real and lasting transformation is not really an issue (unless we can actually unsee what we have seen)

Thus, whether this is merely a (sound) “theoretical construct” depends on whether there is any evidence occuring in real life. Have any insights actually occured, have buddhas ever existed? or only deluded fools that appear to be speaking rationally? (nb. Bearded gurus or sadhgurus in traditional garb spouting mysterious nationalistic woowoo and garbled religious dogma notwithstanding)

There is a difference between recognising what has just been experienced, (ie. near instant remembering). And awareness.
When we speak colloquially of “awareness” we usually mean recognition - whereas in awareness the observer/observed dichotomy collapses. ie. there cannot be awareness and discrimination at the same time.

Yes. It is a misunderstanding or ignorance of the processes of self - its what we always do/are : we are driven by the internal authority of knowledge and desire - which is the opposite of insight into and awareness of that authority.

How would we know? Many ‘buddhas’ have existed, but who knows what dwells in their noggins?

1 Like

Striving for total freedom from suffering is certainly a luscious carrot! Yummy enough to keep believers going for a lifetime (or several). Makes for an interesting (if deluded) journey. And in the meantime, maybe striving for the carrot nudges us in a happy direction? That is, after all, what we all want, right: to be happy, which is in the eye of the beholder? Those who say “I want Truth!” or “I want freedom from conditioning!” are essentially saying: Make me happy dammit!

1 Like

When you bring in “enlightened (self-free) people” to make your point you’re saying what about these hypothetical people? We don’t honestly know if such people exist outside of our self-absorption.

Thanks for the explanation. Perfect enlightenment may well be a myth, the ultimate brass ring for seekers. But humans are capable of pretty miraculous things, geniuses exist in all fields, why not spirituality?