Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Total Responsibility III – Because I Got High

From an empirical point of view my state of being shapes my perception of the world around me. In a philosophical sense, this state of being corresponds to my uniqueness, which consists of the separations I perceive from everything around me. As a typically self-centered individual I am naturally reluctant to relinquish certain aspects of my uniqueness (I’ve kind of grown attached to what I perceive myself to be). In a spiritual context this means that my infatuation with my uniqueness is forestalling both my enlightenment and the corresponding transformation of my perception of the world into a view of a domain in perfect harmony.

In other words, my self-infatuation has had dire consequences on the state of the world as I see it. Since, from the completely selfless perspective, everything is in perfect harmony, each note of disharmony, tragedy, travesty and catastrophe that I perceive in the world is a reflection of my self-centering uniqueness and thus manifests through my refusal to relinquish it. No matter how much I want to believe I am better than this world, the simple fact of the matter is I am as screwed up as I perceive it to be.

In addition to making me ultimately responsible for all of the wrongs I see in the world, this outlook also allows me to take credit for many of its marvels. But, I see entirely too much needless suffering around me to take too much pride in the slightly asymmetric beauty of the universe or such human masterpieces as the Bhagavad Gita, Euclidean Geometry, the Sermon on the Mount, Sufi poetry, the Mona Lisa, Calculus, the U.S. Bill of Rights, “Kind of Blue” and so many more.

It would be unseemly to be patting myself on the back over these examples of human brilliance in the face of massive injustice, wars, genocides, famines, pandemics and extinctions. While I’m evidently still too proud to relinquish my uniqueness, I must be careful not take too much pride in the positive effects it produces. Such conceit would only serve to increase my infatuation with my uniqueness, thus ultimately exacerbating the situation.

Taking full responsibility for the state of the world as I see it is actually a liberating posture. It lets me to take control of my circumstances from people of greater political, economic or social status to whom I would otherwise be inclined to relinquish it. This outlook allows me to see that things are as they are because I insist on seeing myself as distinct from “others” around me, including the autocrats, politicians, spin doctors, media moguls, CEOs, lawyers, MBAs, spiritual leaders, hoi polloi and the many other entities that I would otherwise hold responsible for much of what I dislike about the world. As I embrace my total responsibility, I stop being the victim of my various scapegoats. From this perspective I am the figurative “They”, to whom I would otherwise assign blame for the state of the world.

Regarding myself as totally responsible for the state of the world as I see it is my most mind-expanding idea to date. When I adopt this outlook as I walk through the world, I realize that that pattern of cracks in the sidewalk would not look that way to me were it not for the fact that I regard myself as a unique being. That building surrounded by scaffolding would not look that way to me but for the uniquely self-centered nature of my perspective; nor would that woman in a wheelchair; that homeless man sleeping on that grate or those students trying to play tennis. Even now, after years of taking excursions into this viewpoint, it is still able to take me dizzyingly beyond myself.

2 comments:

vivzan said...

heh, I find what you said here to be so difficult for me to overcome:

In a spiritual context this means that my infatuation with my uniqueness is forestalling both my enlightenment and the corresponding transformation of my perception of the world into a view of a domain in perfect harmony.

I find it very difficult to let go of.

Rational Answers said...

But the effort puts you in the minority of people who are even trying. Thank you for that.

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