Thursday, September 6, 2012

getting "it," recycling thoughts, hermeneutic cycle, my bad & salvation as illusion

remember i'm closing the post on m.bourbaki friday at 11pm. 

excellent class discussion. thanks. more voices, more yin, more plurality, more minds working in unison at the same yielding better results.

some points worth remembering:

* the more you get "it" the less you "get" it (this is only a cautionary metaphor).
* micro/macro should be handled carefully. when micro implodes into its opposite the metaphor ends up cannibalizing itself.
* listening is important.
* own the moment. you know.
* let's recycle more (both metaphysically and ecologically)  

about the importance of texts, don't worry too much for the original language. philosophy is more than hermeneutics.  too much to hermeneutics is a potentially vicious cycle: is the interpreter not -just- another interpretation? and what makes this one better than the other since there's nothing but interpretations to appeal to?

is there a way out? yes. a slap in the face. true philosophy is a speculative discipline. mental gymnastics. thought experiments. possible worlds. let go, but remember: PROBLEMATIZE!

a point about my use of moksha in my post on hinduism brought to me by jonathan at the end of the class. the meaning of moksha, literally, is salvation, not confusion (as the link in the post obviously indicates). i used it loosely making a leap which i didn't justify in detail. you see: i believe that salvation presupposes a fundamental illusion. why? 

first, a theological problem: maya, the deity of illusion: divine mother constantly weaving a phenomenal veil of "as ifs," right before our eyes. is the deity's intention to deceive? well, she does, she has to (each has to do what he/she does).

secondly, an ontological problem: salvation presupposes a safe-conduct, earned tit-for-tat. to win salvation one must work at it. he/she who is saved has something to show for. why is one saved? one wants it more than anything. wanting salvation is a desire for salvation. and yet, that desire (as you'll see very soon) is detached. remember our conversation about yajna (sacrifice). if one gives to receive, is there sacrifice?  salvation means working at it, becoming better, i.e., feeling better. feeling is part of the journey. but behold, feeling is problematic because it means attachment: the very thing that salvation rids one of. so, in a sense, there is no salvation -eternal life, bliss, one-ness, call it what you like- that would not preclude the possibility of attachment (selfishness) re-appearing. this is the point of this important passage in the patanjali sutras:  
III, 50: When the presiding-deities invite, there should be no attachment and no smile of satisfaction, contact with undesirable being again possible. Comment: This is the moment when everything can be lost or everything gained; it is the moment when the superior powers are themselves to be rejected, even as the visions and ecstatic experiences of the saints are to be rejected since they are manifestations of the divine but do not themselves constitute the divine experience. To rest in these accomplishments is ultimately no better and possibly worse than the activities he or she came from initially. 
how is it possible that there shouldn't be any attraction (attachment) to the invitation of the deities right at the moment of salvation? it seems to contradict the very idea of the gift of salvation, isn't it? unless the hope for salvation is ego-driven. isn't the place of mortals to be with mortals? will not "the saved" come back always again in the endless wheel of samsara?  

salvation, thus, precludes a state of "confusion," in the sense that true salvation is not (cannot) be exempt from the possibility of contamination, i.e., the very idea of being saved as something completely other than what needs salvation. which brings me to this question:

is maya a global state of things? is it a lack we all suffer? if maya a necessity, i.e, god  playing games with us when she asks me to be self-vigilant. but wait, even atman (i.e., my access to self) can be illusory! how do i know that the self i think i've found is not a travesty? (which is why we need to get to a subtler state of mind by leaving the "thinking" mind behind).

of course, this discussion of the confusion of salvation needs more time.

i wanted to thank jonathan for the observation. true, moksha means salvation, but the desire for salvation always presupposes avidya, another meaning for the confusion of illusion (i should have made the observation and i didn't).

if you want to tackle this discussion is fine with me. i left the comment box open.

1 comment:

Francisco Silva said...

My comments regard the Thursday class Sep 13th Notes on Jainism.

About Karma - yes, you get what you give. But, as discussed in class and also the blog, I do not agree that an individual should prosper or suffer based on acts and attitude from previous lives. How can one be aware of their acts, how can one have true understanding of why such prosperity or suffering exists? Isn't that used more as an excuse by affirming that one is the way he or she is because of their previous lives? Or is that more of a concept of Dharma. Act deligently now, to always attain prosperous lives?

- Francisco Silva