Tabula Rasa Thread :: Is it hopeless?

One’s life begins with promise and hope, arrives at much (be it good or bad), and ends in total annihilation, so “meeting the world - the world of unjust society - and a life that ends in death, with neither hope not despair”, would mean being effectively dead to promise and hope, success and failure, and whatever else one believes about life.

Are we afraid of death that we know nothing about it or we are afraid of the illness that comes before death specially death due to cancer. We are afraid of the pain not death that we know nothing of except the biology of it.

We are one crazy-ass animal…what with our gods and all!

Not to mention our MONEY!

Death isn’t necessarily painful, so the pain is not physical, but psychological. That is, one knows that one has lived according to one’s beliefs, hopes, and fears, and that living that way is a grave mistake.

I’m not sure I have grasped what you were saying here? Do you mind if I unpack it a bit?

Does life begin with promise and hope and end in annihilation? Speaking personally, even though the first 5 years of my life were largely free from unhappiness (although even then I recall physical accidents that were painful, and remember having dreams about death and loss, etc) - from about 5 onwards (through the rest of my childhood and teenage years) life was pretty miserable! There didn’t feel very much promise or hope for me.

And is death annihilation? I don’t mean that I expect to personally continue as the entity ‘James’ (or whoever), but just simply that death is the unknown. No-one has come back to tell us about it (unless one accepts the authority of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, etc - and Rick said “no authority”!). What we build up in life are attachments - to people, knowledge, and things - and it is these that we are afraid of giving up through death; but not death itself (which remains unknown). This is why we can also experiment with dying (not through suicide), by dying to small things, small habits or reactions we are accustomed to, and letting go of the day before we go to sleep, etc. It may not be blockbuster stuff, but dying is happening in small ways around us (and within us) all the time. Sometimes we can be a conscious part of that perpetual dying.

So when it was suggested that we might meet life without hope or despair I simply meant that - well, what choice do we have? Life is what it is, for good or bad. It contains great pleasures and joys, but also great suffering and tragedy, great injustice. One cannot block it out forever.

So there is always the possibility of dropping our resistance to life, and meeting it - or living with it (even if only for a few minutes) - without judgement, without belief, without stories in our heads about success or failure; and to see what happens. If there is regret, or sadness, or even despair, then so be it: this is what life then is to ourselves right now, at this moment. What choice does one have in the matter?

If one feels regret or hopelessness (whether for oneself or for the world), one feels regret and hopelessness. That’s all: this is (for the moment at least) what is. If it could be otherwise, it would be otherwise. And if it can be otherwise, then the very looking, the very choiceless awareness that we can have of it will show this.

If it could be said that I have a creed of any kind, then this is it!