Challenging Lives – Good for Evolution

As we progress and evolve the nature of the challenges we face whilst incarnate must also change. To evolve we need to learn new things in each lifetime. Along the way there will be a variety of different flavours of life. What is challenging to one being might be facile to another. What we can endure mentally, physically and emotionally will change.

This evolution means that we must learn to drive the vehicle, the physical plane being, as best we can learning as we go to detach from whatever dissatisfactions may or may not arise. It is a human tendency to bemoan our lot, though many so doing, have relatively little to complain about. For swathes of humanity mere existence is a harsh and difficult challenge, for others there is food on the table, money in the bank and a relatively easy physical life. For these the challenges are not about survival, they are more psychological, emotional, and pertaining to the quality or otherwise of their orientation to other humans. Some, already comfortable, are insatiable and greedy. In this instance they are succumbing to avarice {in whatever sense and for whatever} and not facing the challenge of taking only what is truly needed. Excess wins over moderation. Insatiability dominates the notion of enough.

Some challenges like the forced separation from a loved one, test mettle to the core. Some have unpleasantness directed at them and to forebear this without ire or revenge sets one above the average. Have a think about how prevalent the notion of revenge is in modern society. It underpins much “entertainment” and people go on about getting revenge on ex-partners and other sports teams. It is so primitive, yet it is an emotive theme present in art, literature, and film. There is a tendency to gloat over revenge accomplished. Yet the challenge to resist the temptation to be petty has been missed and no doubt this motif will reoccur until the being learns. Revenge begets revenge and it is silly.

In general evolution is about lifting oneself up, out of the mud of socially conditioned behaviour, reducing pettiness and point scoring. Taking one’s mind out of the mire and yet not judging it. It is to see where people are at and not looking down the nose. We are all on a journey, some have travelled a little further than others. That is all.

I mentioned previously shortcomings. These amount to things which we need to learn, not to be egotistical for example. Indulging is the opposite of facing. It is the nature of all challenge that we will fail many times before we learn. Human beings who imagine themselves homo sapiens are in fact rather slow and stubborn learners. One of the hardest things to acquire is a genuine, proportionate humility. The other is a sense of patience and forbearance, with no grumpiness and sense of being hard done by. This is particularly so in our times of instantaneous gratification.

In this life I picked an athletically able body with a sound intellect. In my mid-thirties I was tempted by power and money together with the trappings, and I chose that word deliberately, so associated. In general, I did a decent job of facing these. Since then, the vehicle has had numerous health concerns and I have had to take it to the mechanics often. I have joked that this is to cure me of the desire for another piece of meat in which to abide. I have renounced status and now live as a foreigner of low status in a foreign land. To many the loss of status is an idea which they dread, status and kudos are desired and sought. It takes a long time to realise that they are like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, not real. This loss of status challenge implies that I was a tad too fond of status in previous lives.

“Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear.”

Marcus Aurelius

In one sense we, as the reincarnating causal jiva, select the vehicle and circumstances for our next learning experience, or life.  These lives may be easy or difficult. The level of challenge offered is proportional to the potential for evolution and learning. As per the above quotation. If we handle our life challenges well, we learn. If we do not, we still learn only we do so the hard way. How we use the potential for any given life is causal of the effects called subsequent lives.

“What we do now echoes in eternity.”

Marcus Aurelius

If we are slow to learn and arrogant, sooner or later we will get a life in which we are thoroughly knelt by the universe. If for example you are arrogant, you won’t believe what I just wrote. If you are self-diagnosed omniscient sooner or later you will be shown the error of your ways, if not in this life, then in subsequent ones.

There are lives in which much progress is made, and these are characterised by some form of hardship. The harder the life, the more daunting the challenge, the greater the potential for evolution. If your life is characterised by struggle and hardship, it is a good thing. It means that you, the causal jiva has decided that you are up for it, you can hack it. You may not enjoy, but you can do.

“What we cannot bear removes us from life; what remains can be borne.”

Marcus Aurelius

When you have learned by challenge there is less need for repetition so the nature of the challenges evolve, as you the causal jiva, progress on your journey “home”.  The nature of the learning varies and can get very subtle or very harsh. Facing apparent adversity with detachment and a good mental attitude, is nearly always the way forward. To lift out of emotions and see challenge for what it is, opportunity for learning and evolution. These challenges are tests that you, the real you, have set for yourself, here “self” at the level of causal jiva and not personality.

This is my postulate for today:

Challenging lives are good for your evolution.

When Will You Be Satisfied?

Within the paradigm of Materialistic Hedonistic Consumerism there is no space for “enough” apart from in a most fleeting temporal moment. In general people want more. Someone will always be better have a bigger house, a better trophy wife, more postnominals and higher kudos.

The economy in this paradigm is supposed to grow so that the paradigm, blessed be its name, can be sustained. This implies a continuous extension of demand. A global “enough” cannot therefore exist if there is to be economic growth. I don’t know where this mantra of “must grow, must grow” came from. It is not very sensible in the context of finite planetary resource, is it?

If you are not satisfied, then by definition you have not had enough {satis} and are therefore dissatisfied. The level of dissatisfaction varies from person to person. Some are natural Scrooges, some Eeyores and some are like Midas. There is a lot of envy and comparison mind is pandemic. People are forever comparing themselves to some rubric, some fantasy world.

Some like to self-flagellate with their thoughts and criticisms.

There is often a mental barrier.

“When I get my chair at Cambridge, then I will be happy…”

I might say no you won’t. You will be working your arse off!!

I’ll make a postulate here:

Comparison mind is a major cause of global dissatisfaction and suffering.

“Mummy he got one more sweetie than me. It is not fair!!”

I’ll do a little exercise of comparison mind.

I live on a low income, I am in my late fifties, with poor health and a background level of arthritic pain, my wife has an incurable disease, I am socially isolated, I am lacking in kudos and have little or no physical plane power. I have no ambition.

Now think of 40-50 words which describe your life. Make it succinct.

In your opinion who is likely to be more dissatisfied with their lot, you or me?

What was the basis of your comparison?

Which assumptions did you make?

When Will You Be Satisfied?

Marmite, Vegemite and Twiglets…

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
Six foot four, full of muscle
I said, “Hey, do you speak-a my language, buck?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich…

The Twiglets arrived today and tomorrow the Marmite is due. I have been toying with ordering some Vegemite.

If you are British, you will understand the Marmite thing, either you love it or hate it. You might get drawn into the Vegemite or Marmite debate. I am bi-lingual.

For three years I had Vegemite sandwiches out in the depths of Queensland, Australia. Many years later in the UK I reverted back from Marmite to Vegemite. I have been on Marmite for over a decade now.

If you have lived pretty much your entire life in the UK, it is difficult to imagine being seared by the semi-desert outback sun and then cooked in the African bush as a child. I say that I am part desert creature and instinctively seek shade.

I’ll make a postulate.

Human beings tend to assume a whole bunch of stuff about others without ever checking if those assumptions are in anyway close to reality. They may make weighty and important decisions based on these assumptions without doing any checks and balances.

What do you reckon to this postulate?

I recently explained to someone that I probably had delayed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder {PTSD} because of events in the African bush as an 11-year-old. This hypothesis is consistent with my hyper-alert state in my early adult life and possibly lent a hand to my anxiety and depression. Nobody who was treating me ever asked if I had seen in close quarters a man being dragged under to die by a Nile crocodile. The idea of PTSD was not very trendy back then. I was in London and not Lusaka. The hypothesis is consistent with some of my risk-taking behaviours such as walking down the tube tracks into Southgate station on my way from Cockfosters to Bounds Green because I had no money for a taxi. The second time I did this I got busted by the transport Police.

Since we have been here, we have seen half-a-dozen or so snakes. When I mentioned it to the professional hunters and the mole hunter, they all reacted, they kind of shivered. Is there something about Catholicism and serpents? Who knows? I am quite relaxed; an adder, or a grass snake is not a black mamba or a brown snake.

People assume a whole bunch of stuff. There was a time when people felt that I was motivated by financial self-interest and greed. But I was seeking to raise money for a retreat centre and not a posh house, car and lifestyle.

I am going to put two questions, one of which is mildly satirical. They related to my postulate.

Have you ever assumed something about someone and been so very far off the mark that it was retrospectively toe-curlingly embarrassing?

Did you behave like a poorly spelled Danish king towards said individual?

Of Karmic Significance? Materialistic Hedonism

If I understand it correctly the report into the shenanigans at #10 Downing Street had some comments about getting away with it {phew}.

Many people share this “getting away with it” mentality, which means I guess, that they have not been held to account by the law or other human beings. They do not believe in karma or sin. Just so long as they are not punished in a mundane sense for their misdemeanour, they are happy and will do the same kind of dodgy stuff over an over. They are more concerned by what other human beings think, say and do than what the universe makes of their actions. Even those who give a passing nod to the notions of sin and karma, bend the “rules” when it suits them. They might have a knee trembler with their aide outside their office, distort statements so that they are spun to look better, fiddle their expenses and exaggerate beyond measure.

People who allege themselves Christian forget about the notions of Sodom and Gomorrah and the wrath of God. I am pretty sure that someone from a hundred years ago witnessing “acceptable” behaviour now would be utterly shocked. Friends with benefits? Notches on bed posts…

Has the one humanity, as a whole, broken its moral compass so that it is a slave to temptation, immediacy and convenience?

In a large part I think that the answer to this is yes.

The government of a nation is but a mirror of its populace. All empires fall into decline and it looks to me that the untied kingdom {possible word choice error suggests MS Word} does not yet realise that this is what is happening.

I have a hypothesis:

Humanity exists in two types, those that care for and give a shit about others and those who are only in it for themselves, the greedy and needy self-centred.

What do you think about this hypothesis? Is it accurate?

Those in the latter classing often pretend to give a shit about others so as to advance their needs and their agendas. They may bribe them with a tax windfall.

Competitive materialistic hedonism is the prime cause of global warming. Humanity can try to get away with it and marginally alter behaviours and come up with ingenious ways to have its cake and eat it. The fact remains that the resources of this planet are finite. We cannot have more and more people wanting more and more unnecessary stuff.

But nobody says that.  It argues we will be carbon neutral; we will try to keep global warming to some man-made target. Humanity is dealing with the effects and not the cause.

Competitive materialistic hedonism has karmic significance both for humanity and the planet.

We have to change our ways…

Changing the way we live is the surest way to slow climate change. But to question humanity’s insatiable desire for stuff, toys, holidays and gluttonous consumption is never going to be a vote winner!!

That is until after the next truly massive disincarnation event. The disasters when they come will have to be truly significant for humanity to wake up and smell the coffee.

I wonder how massive these events must be in order to drag humanity’s attention away from Netflix, party gate and the Heard/Depp trial?

Phew, if we build a few more windfarms, a couple more nuclear power plants we will get away with it. We can get to keep our materialistic hedonism way of life, stuff our faces and shag ourselves senseless while Rome burns.

The prime cause of global warming is competitive materialistic hedonism. This self-satisfying paradigm has karmic implications which include meteorological disasters, wars over fossil fuels and potentially mass extinction of flora and fauna.

We are so clever at inventing ways to minimise damage that we fail to see that which is directly under our nose.  We put our heads in the sand so that we can get to keep our vampiric behaviours bleeding the earth to death.

Homo sapiens??

It is so simple…but nobody wants to say it.

Self-Diagnosed Omniscience

I’ll kick this off with a postulate.

Postulate #1

In our day and age self-diagnosed omniscience is a very widespread malady. As a result of this self-diagnosis the world is populated with instant experts who believe that the entire universe will benefit from their sacrosanct and inviolable opinions. They are largely unaware that their self-diagnosis is very often badly wrong. Any being on the threshold of wisdom has sufficient humility and will therefore have an open mind and cannot be overly bothered with winning petty arguments. Those prone to argue the toss because of their self-diagnosed omniscience are providing the Q.E.D. to disprove their own expert diagnosis.

What do you reckon? Is there some descriptive accuracy to this postulate of mine?

Recently I have found myself saying to various people that I must truly be the luckiest man alive in that down the years dozens of people have judged my character and told me what I am, what I am able to do and what I am thinking about.

There are a number of things that people find very hard to believe. I’ll illustrate with a few examples.

Aside from talking to the wife on the ‘phone when she is in hospital and to friends of hers then, I have not had a personal, non-business phone call since 2015. This is accurate from within the bounds of my approaching senility.

In this day and age, few would believe this statement.

Because of all the meditation I have done I do not think unless I am consciously trying to think, I have precious little internal dialogue in my mind. So, if you said to me, “you are thinking X, Y and Z!”  You would be wrong and transferring your mind function into your interpretation of me. My mind is very largely silent.

A long while ago someone was certain I was, in his view, a Man of Action. There was around two years’ worth of shenanigans based around this fundamental misconception. If I was to describe myself, I would say with certainty that I like planning, developing visions and understanding things at a profoundly conceptual level. I am not all that fussed about execution. Give me the next plan to make, vision to scope out. The person in question was perhaps mistaking a high functioning academic researcher for a doer. If you have your shit together it can look like action. I like synthetic philosophy. It never occurred to this gentleman that if he suggested a role to me, I might take it on as an experiment to explore perceptual space. I would try it on for size without ever fully subscribing to that viewpoint.

In my view the really strange thing is that all those people who have “told me” have never asked me if I think their assessment is accurate. It is not important to me if someone holds an erroneous and inaccurate opinion. I nearly said assessment there but that implies deliberation and thinking which is often missing in any proclamation. If people like soap boxes, it is no fault of mine

I’ll come back to miscommunication.

Recently we asked a French estate agent to come and value our property. We had a meeting in his office, and he handed us some worked up project document with property prices in which five or six property prices were fitted in Excel to what looked to be a polynomial series trend line. The graph looked all wavy and went exactly through each data point, there must have been a lot of terms in the polynomial, and he believed it was real!

On the basis of a ridiculously small data set he made a low valuation. Perhaps he felt this was a basis for discussion. He had a nice little shiny sales pack prepared which I only glanced through. That kind of stuff is like a cold wet kipper for me. The wife and I looked at each other and at the valuation and pretty shortly we left.

If he was anticipating a discussion in which we argued up the pricing, he was wrong. He went onto my mental “he is a bit of a wanker” list.

I’ll end this with a question:

Do you suffer in any way from self-diagnosed omniscience whether premature or otherwise?