Thursday, 22 June 2017

Buddhism and a persisting self

I recently read the following article:

What the Buddha Didn't Teach About Reincarnation
It says:

"This is not to say that “we” do not exist–but that there is no permanent, unchanging “me,” but rather that we are redefined in every moment by shifting impermanent conditions".

This appears to me to be just the same as what materialists are obliged to believe.

 "Suffering and dissatisfaction occur when we cling to desire for an unchanging and permanent self that is impossible and illusory".

How do they know this? I agree it is liberating to believe this. For example, our fear of death is misplaced since we are effectively "dying" every infinitesimal fraction of a second anyway. And our everyday concerns are also misplaced. Such a philosophy, if wholeheartedly subscribed to, will lead to tranquillity, acceptance, loss of fear about all things.

However, this philosophy denies an *I* or you, or self. No reason to fear anything, but also it robs one's life and the existence of all things of any purpose. There is no point in planning ahead. It makes everything we ever do, pointless. It is, in a sense, a life denying philosophy.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The end of the age of the dinosaurs

If the asteroid that hit our planet ~ 66 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs, had hit the planet perhaps as little as 2 seconds later, it might have fallen into the ocean instead of shallow water and hence the consequences would have been very different. There would have been vastly less vaporised rock and sunlight could have still reached the Earth's surface in the following weeks and months. Hence the temperature all over the planet wouldn't have catastrophically fallen. Hence the dinosaurs might not have been wiped out. Hence human beings might never have evolved.

The fact that human beings ever came into being is an extraordinarily unlikely series of events. But then, what do we make of the notion that there is an ultimate purpose to our lives? That we were born for some ultimate purpose? On the surface, it might seem incompatible with any such purpose since we're here by sheer colossally unlikely blind happenstance. 

There's stuff here I think that we're simply not understanding. Perhaps if dinosaurs had survived, they would have evolved into intelligent creatures comparable to our intelligence? Perhaps our souls might have inhabited these dinosaur descendants? Lots of questions, lots of speculations. But all very interesting -- well . . at least I find it interesting!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

What should we strive for in our lives?

OK, I put this in a facebook post last night after drinking 8 * 275ml bottles of becks.

What is meant to make a success of one's life? Earning loads of money perhaps? Or becoming some famous figure? If the latter, surely not someone like David Beckham? But what about a influential scientist like Newton or Darwin?

Is it the transient happiness of loads of money, or the feeling of satisfaction of fame, that should be the goal of life? But what happens if we achieve either of these? What happens if one becomes incredibly rich? Or incredibly famous? Will that bring some sort of ultimate satisfaction? I doubt it. We need to bear in mind that, at the end of our lives we are all equal; we either just cease to exist, or enter some strange new reality (or perhaps not so strange, I don't know).

I'm unconvinced that striving to make as much money as possible, or striving to obtain as much admiration from others as possible, is what we ought to aim towards.

I think we should try to be as honest, open, and authentic as possible. Express our feelings to others, especially anyone special in our lives. Forget putting on a mask to get on with others. If they think you're weird, so what?? Be yourself, don't pretend to be what you're not.

Walking in the Sun when topless

Unbelievably warm outside, but nevertheless I'm still the only person in existence who is out topless -- or at least in Louth, Lincolnshire, England. It appears to have the interesting consequence that people don't say hello to me when passing me. Nor do they when I'm unshaved etc.

On the other hand, if I've just been in the shower, shaved, nicely dressed etc, people keep asking me directions to places every 5 mins when I'm out walking!

Ian's tip of the day. If you're doing a timed walk, ensure you're unshaved or topless or whatever, so you don't kept being stopped by people asking directions to places.

Ian Wardell