We might not be aware or willing to admit how fragile our civilization has become. It seems that with the smallest ember a big fire can break out. With our current so-called development, we are on a collision course on mutual destruction. It seems very important, at least to me, to understand what we mean exactly by development, and whether that means prosperity or perpetual war.
Many crises have broken out in this century. The climate, the non-stop wars and humanitarian crises, the general breakdown of human psychological health, and the pandemics. Although we as human beings might worship order, we have created chaos in the world. It might seem that the many crises are separate, individual cases, but if we could see where they form at the root, we might understand that they are not different, but similar.
Reality is not real nor unreal. Thought gives reality a sense of space and time, therefore reality becomes rather real. Thought is the reaction towards the perception. When there is the perception of a cup, for example, a name is given to the cup, or its history and associated memories appears as a reaction to the cup, all of which arises as a process of thinking, and therefore the cup obtains a sense of reality in time and space. Thought is the substance of this reality. It is true that when thought is not present, there isn't such reality of the cup. There is only what is. It could be said that thought gives any reality a sense of continuity. This continuity then appears to be really happening. This continuity is synonymous to time and space. The cup, then, seems to really occupy a specific amount of space and extend over a period of time. Whereas, these apparent reality of space and time are constructions of thinking. When thinking is absent, such as in deep sleep, there isn't space nor time. Thought is the substance, is what makes reality to have length, depth, and importance. Whereas the substance, which is thought, has no length, depth, or importance. This is why the substance of reality is only apparent, i.e. illusory. Nothing has substance. To have substance means to occupy space or time in any real sense. When space and time are only constructions of thinking, any substance can only be said to be superficial, because thinking is superficial and transient.
The story is one of the most powerful forms of persuasion. From the very ancient times, parables existed to persuade human beings to obey certain principles. Now, in our technologically advanced civilizations, and waging technologically advanced warfare, not only physically, but also psychologically and culturally, we are still using stories to persuade, to justify, to rationalize our violence. Of course, there is always the better stories, the more truthful narratives. Yet, it is the claim here that no narratives can be truthful. Narratives are inherently a selective process, a representation, and nothing can be further from the truth. In times of crises, we tell ourselves stories, may be immersed in their glory and proclaimed virtue, but we are so frequently unaware of how stories are always written for a purpose. When we believe in any story, we inevitably perpetuate conflict among human beings. There are no better or worse stories. There are only stories, and stories have no relationship to truth.
A scapegoat is easy to find. If we want to find someone to blame, for our many crises, for war, for violence, we can absolutely find someone. This is a way of perceiving history, that the tremendous suffering and pain were caused by a few people making the big decisions. Implied in this way of perception is the tendency to separate oneself from history, to maintain a fairytale of the good against evil, and, of course, we are always the good ones. It is tremendously easy to demarcate, to draw lines and boundaries, to make someone into the enemy. Any declaration of war is this same movement. One must demonize the other in order to justify killing the other. One must say the other is evil in order to liquidate the other with good conscience. But, is any killing done in good conscience? Is any demonization a good? When we tolerate demonization, or even celebrate demonization, do we ever look at ourselves? And when we do, are we really different from the enemy?
The common perception of something uncompromising seems to be related to fixation, rigidity, solidity. If someone does not compromise, it means that said person holds on to a certain principle or idea and will not budge from pressure. In the relative sense, uncompromising could be interpreted as such. In the absolute sense, to hold on to anything is only the sign of compromise. What is absolutely uncompromising is uncompromising under any circumstances, which includes death.
The basic assumption of diplomacy is not peace, not compassion, but selfishness. In times of war, or in times of crisis, like a global pandemic, there appears a tremendous amount of calculation, political maneuvering, and deceit. There is so rarely anyone at the international stage who could sincerely say something, who could deliver a message without any ulterior motive. We have seen this going on, and the current Russian war in Ukraine is only a further testament to this selfishness. Every country went out to say something, to make a statement, to say how appalled or proud they are, and so on. But hidden behind these words, were only empty promises, because they didn't really want to promise anyone anything, only to secure their own self-interests.
It seems that humanity is only apt to repeat its own errors. In an age of advanced information technology, we might all notice the countless wars which had been fought since we existed. We have also stopped to ponder the question, why do we have wars? When World War II ended, a great wave of despair and meaninglessness occupied the world, and what has come out of it? Why is it that human beings only know violence? Why do we react only with force? Why do we believe that any kind of war, at any level or scale, can solve any problems at all?
Story is told about oneself. Story is the imprisonment. When there is awareness of this imprisonment, one seeks to break free. The process of breaking free is the search for liberation. Usually, the story is told about oneself by others. This story limits who we can be. To break free of the limit is liberation. One experiences what one thinks is liberation through gaining control of storytelling. One now controls the telling of the story. One chooses what kind of story one tells about oneself. This might feel liberating, but it is only a change of prisons. Imprisonment is the nature of any story.
Absence can never be present. This statement might seem very obvious, yet in daily life the feeling of absence pervades. There is the lack of love, the absence of satisfaction. One might feel that one is not good enough, kind enough, courageous enough, successful enough. These are all the manifestations of absence. Yet, absence is an impossibility. When this is understood, no sense of lack can ever take hold. Therefore, life becomes effortlessly self-fulfilling.
The power of the mind is based on its fundamental belief that it can tell right from wrong. This is the same as the power of knowledge. Modern society might have its peculiar flavor of knowledge, such as the scientific or the egotistic, but knowledge has exerted its power since age immemorial. Such power feeds itself. Through constantly validating its own correctness by believing in its correctness, it lives in the dream of power.