Friday, March 21, 2008

How Can Anyone Other Than Me See This?

Knowledge: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; justified belief; awareness or familiarity gained by experience or situation.

To most people knowledge is an absolutely significant aspect of their lives and it would be silly for me to deny that. And yet, from my point of view, I cannot justify feeling the same way. There is certainly a place in one's life for knowledge, particularly surrounding one's own survival, but when knowledge operates in its right place it leaves no mark in memory. By this, I mean, when knowledge operates in terms of the body's survival it simply operates automatically and then is gone. Let's call it a genetic instinct. For example, when one learns that fire is hot and should not be touched, this is quite accurate and obviously useful, but when one learns that women will not like a person like me, this is quite unfortunate and dangerous. It is this second form of knowledge, operating in response to maintaining the image I have of myself, that acts like a poison in the mind of the one infected. The obvious difference in the examples above is that fire will always be hot, no matter how many times you touch it, but one women is as different from the next as apples are to oranges. And yet, when one doesn't like a particular feeling following a particular event, the recording of this leaves a subtle groove of avoidance in the mind. The more the recorded reaction is reinforced, the deeper the groove becomes until any other option, besides the pre-determined reaction, no longer arises. 'Reality' becomes narrowed down and limited it its scope and depth of possibility. Life becomes more and more static, dull, and rigidly governed. Of course, one must be careful when using examples to flush out a perspective, like those stated above, because examples, a form of this second type of knowledge, clearly limit the mind's ability to see what lies directly before it.

Let's start loosely from the beginning. When one learns to remember their name, and is able to mentally connect that name with their physical body, an image is born. This image is entirely knowledge based, meaning as you grow through the experiences and circumstances of your life, how you interpret and record said life continually adds to this never-ending project of image-building. This image becomes the focal point of one's entire life, subjecting everything one learns and accumulates to its own sense of worth and fulfillment. The image's life is due to one's capacity to remember and it is one's memory that continually feeds this image to the point where this mental reference point distorts all available information received from one's senses, in any given moment, and creates a noticeable division within one's consciousness and outward life. This accumulated knot of knowledge separates itself from everything else, which creates the delusion that the only way to bridge the separation is through acquiring more knowledge.

And so our world has become almost entirely knowledge-based. We live within an environment that demands the accumulation of this knowledge to the point that non-accumulation means not surviving. And so we strive for a better life, a higher self, a more peaceful world, a nobler disposition, all in the hopes of somehow improving oneself through acquiring more knowledge. Life, itself, is reduced to the circumference of the image at hand and no matter where you go or how you change, no matter what you do or how you do it, one thing remains the same, your undying devotion to image-building. Consciously or unconsciously, you know nothing more than the movement of your image from what, and where, it is today to what, and where, it will be tomorrow. Everything (how much more inclusive can one be), everything you experience, everything you have come across, everything existing in this manifested world of ours, serves only this purpose, building one's self-image. There's no secret place, no secret book, no secret person, no secret practice, no...secret existing anywhere that lies outside of this purpose. Everything is serving to help or hinder your perpetual building of 'me,' for you're translating everything according to the accumulated knowledge you've already acquired and it is this knowledge that colors and adds to itself in every next step you take. Have people pointed this out before? Yes. Have certain places or times awakened something inside you that knows this to be true? Yes. Has doing something a particular way, in a particular moment, shown you this truth? Yes. And yet the very next moment you slip back into the skin of your image in order to hold onto it and it is lost. Therefore, the person who pointed it out becomes important, the place, the practice, and you are lost.

If a person allows you to follow them, if a person places themselves between you and what you know to be true, if a person interprets what's true for you, they are lost, and you're being led to the slaughter. Nothing given from another can help you escape a trap of your own making. Watch the accumulation of knowledge yourself. Watch the separation it creates. Watch the division that ensues. Watch the ruthless perpetuation of your image as it strives to become more and continue another day. See the effects of this circular motion and ask yourself...how can anyone other than me see this?