Trust No One But Yourself

Traditional Man placed his trust on either monarchies or religions, whereas Modern Man places his trust in either politicians or technology. In other words, both sets of men believe(d) that some separate, external person, idea or material object would lead to their satisfaction and fulfillment. The problem with both the Traditional and the Modern viewpoint is that man is still a slave in both cases! Either man is looking to a form of government, a religion, a politician or technology as their savior and protector. Man, in both the days of old and of new, refuses to place their trust in themselves. They’d rather look to an external factor that is separate from their own being. The Traditional Man and the Modern Man have at least one thing in common, in that both sets of men continue to refuse to be true individuals.

Since we are in the final stages of the Kali Yuga, I propose that mankind abandon their eons of submission and look to themselves as saviors and protectors! Not themselves as in human beings in general, but themselves as an introspective individual. Your own salvation and fulfillment lie within you. Stop believing that some other person or force can satisfy your life and bring you inner peace. In this new era, mankind must look within themselves individually – they must not place their trust in any other external factor, or at least, if they do place trust in something besides themselves, make sure it is a trust that is prone to skepticism and, if need be, a weak trust that can be easily broken if the circumstances require it too. What I mean by this is that Traditional Man and Modern Man had or has been so indoctrinated into believing that they are not capable of achieving things by their own will that any person who says government, religion, or technology cannot save us is viewed as being a lunatic. The idea that a man can ‘save himself by himself’ is an unpopular one. Even the American conservatives and libertarians, who seem to pride themselves (naively that is) on individualism and self-sufficiency – they too are merely slaves to the idea that religion (conservatives) or an economic system like capitalism (libertarians) can bring about the fulfillment of their being. They still place their trust in something external to themselves!

The final stages of the Kali Yuga shall therefore be stages dedicated to the individual! I do not wish to classify this as ‘individualism’ because that would imply subscribing to another idea (individualism itself seems to have a very western-esque dogma to it). No, this is not individualism that I promote but the individual himself! Place your trust in no one but yourself. Politicians, religion, technology and materialism – these things cannot and will not fulfill you – if anything, they will bring either a false illusion or a fleeting, momentary happiness that will leave you wanting for more.

 

Advertisements

Kali Yuga

Image result for kali yuga

The Hindu’s believed that the universe has four cycles of existence. According to the Hindu scriptures, we are living in the Kali Yuga – the fourth and final stage of the Hindu cyclical calendar.

While I am not a Hindu, and for the most part I am an atheist, I will admit that I do believe mankind is living in a Kali Yuga-esque world (at least in a symbolic way).

The Kali Yuga is an age of spiritual oblivion – where mankind is obsessed with material items and consumes at an unprecedented rate. As the Kali Yuga progresses, mankind becomes more and more obsessed with material items and possessions – to the point where these material items become the new ‘gods’ and ‘idols’ of man.

Never before in the history of our species has mankind been so obsessed with material possessions. We live in a world where money, commercial products and luxury items represent the worth of a human being. A person with a lot of money is considered a success – a person with little money is considered a failure.

People with expensive clothes, big houses, fast cars or glamorous jewelry are admired and respected. The public is more interested in the opinions of a rich celebrity than an actual expert. A person with enough money can essentially commit any crime they want and get away with it (or at least have a better chance of getting a lighter sentence), whereas poor people who commit petty crimes are thrown in a metal cell for years on end with no hope of rehabilitation.

Money, which is essentially a piece of paper, has become the driving force behind the world. Money is the backbone of our modern society. Almost everything that we need to survive (food, shelter, clothes, medicine) can only come to us if we pay for it with money. If you have a lot of money, you can buy more food, a bigger house, designer clothes or even the best medical treatment. And, if you don’t have enough money, you either settle for a lesser, subpar version of the necessities or you lack them altogether (which can lead to starvation, homelessness, nakedness, sickness).

People spend their lives getting jobs that they probably dislike in order to obtain money so they can buy things that they don’t even need. They might think that they need these items – but they don’t. Society, mainly the media, has tricked these people into thinking that they need to wear these clothes, or drive this car, or eat this food, or drink this water. Advertising makes us think that if we buy this or that we can somehow become successful, or beautiful, or even happy.

Another attribute of the Kali Yuga is that mankind drifts further away from God. Now, let’s say you are a theist – a Christian, Muslim, Jew etc. Surely you can agree that the power of the church, or the power of religion, is quickly decaying. The Roman Catholic church for example once held sway over most of Europe. Now, a large portion of the European population is agnostic or non-religious. The same goes for over here in United States, where church attendance is decreasing despite a growing population. With the rise of science, many aspects of religion are no longer accepted. Even the Catholic Pope is saying that evolution and the Big Bang theory are true – something that no pope previously would have ever even considered. Now, if you are a theist, you could say the world is slowly ‘drifting away from God’. Religion is becoming less and less important to the average person. Atheism and apathy towards religion have become more prevalent.

Now, as an atheist myself, I don’t think this is a bad thing, I am simply stating that it does seem true that mankind is drifting further from ‘God’. As Nietzsche himself said ‘God is Dead’. This doesn’t mean that God was an actual living being – but rather it means that the idea of a God is dead. The concept of God and all this God stood for no longer hold sway over our lives.

However, I believe that, when the Hindu’s said the Kali Yuga would be an age where ‘mankind drifts away from God’ – they meant it in a more personal way. Hindu’s are monists – they believe that everything is ultimately one. God, or any of the 300 million gods, are really just a part of ourselves. There is no difference between you and God. The world is filled with illusions and it is because of these illusions that people think they are separate from God. When you see past the illusions, you realize that God and you are the same thing – you are God, God is you. By learning about yourself, and understanding yourself, you will come to understand God – since the two are the same.

In our modern era, the search for self-discovery seems non-existent. People care only about the opinions other people have of them. Everyone’s self-image and self-esteem is based largely on other people’s opinions. Rather than take the time and mediate on their self, people would rather read some shitty article or horoscope telling about their ‘qualities’ or ‘traits’. Young people need constant reaffirmation and praise in order to feel complete. Social media is a great example of this – where a person feels important based on the amount of attention their posts get. Snap chat is a great example of how young people have an urge to share everything they’re doing with their many ‘followers’. Young people need others to know that they are having fun, or that they just went to a concert, or that they just got wasted. It isn’t enough that the person doing the actual activity is aware that they did it – everyone else must also be aware that they did the activity.

People don’t even attempt to learn about themselves anymore. They’d rather read personal stories or gossip columns on celebrities than think about their own lives. People are always wishing they had the life of someone else rather than their current one. ‘Oh I wish I was so-and-so’ or ‘oh my life would be so much better if I was this person, or that person’.

The biggest problem is that people do not know what they really want. As I mentioned earlier, the media and commercial society has brainwashed most people into thinking that they want this item or that item. Our system teaches kids to ‘pursue their dreams’ – of course these dreams must require some sort of higher-education degree, and the dream must be ‘practical’ and ‘achievable’. If the child says they want to be an artist or singer they will probably be persuaded to chose a different career.

People are brainwashed. They believe that they have some sort of duty or allegiance to the system. They spend their lives working for a system that does not benefit them. They spend their lives chasing after material items that they don’t really want or need – but society has brainwashed them into thinking that they do need these items. The system teaches that people should be peaceful, moral, have a well-paying job, be law-abiding, get married, have a family, support your country, pay taxes, buy products, and be compliant. But is that really what you want? Maybe it is – maybe it isn’t. The point is that society has brainwashed most people into thinking that these are the only options available – or rather that these are the ‘best’ options available. People no longer live their lives as their true selves – they do what society wants them to do and believe what society wants them to believe. Thus, modern man is detached from ‘God’ in the sense that he is detached from himself. How can modern man know God if he doesn’t know himself? How can modern man love God if he doesn’t love himself? How can modern man know what God wants if he doesn’t even know what he wants?

It is sad really – because the only person that you’ll ever have the ability to really know is yourself. No one else will ever live your life, or experience exactly what you’ve experienced. Yet people don’t want to learn about themselves. They don’t want to meditate on their feelings and learn about their true self. In the Kali Yuga, no one knows who they are or what they want or even what potential they have. Everything they know about themselves is an illusion – a trick planted in their mind by the society around them.

There are many other attributes of the Kali Yuga that are prevalent in our society. Avarice will become widespread, sexual promiscuity will be socially acceptable, murder rates will rise, addiction to drugs and alcohol will increase, poverty will rise and spirituality will decrease. All of these things are very prevalent throughout our western world.

Overall, I do think that mankind is living in the Kali Yuga. Our current world is one filled with materialism and an unquenchable appetite for consumerism. Our leaders are corrupt, our world is ruled by a piece of paper, people are ignorant of God and of themselves, and the world slowly descends further and further into an abyss of misery.

 

Hindu Dream

Image result for one with the universe

I had a very peculiar dream last night, a dream that, to some extent, reminds me of a similar feeling one may perceive when on LSD. However, at the time of this dream I had not taken any drugs or alcohol for well over 4-5 months; so it certainly was not caused by any intoxicants, although I do believe that my usage of hallucinogens and alcohol in the past may have played a role in the content of the dream.

This dream was very similar to many of the dreams that I have been having for the past few days now. They are dreams that are unique, because in these dreams I see the world both from a first-person and third-person point of view. Yes, in these dreams I both observe from my own perspective (first-person) and observe myself from outside (third-person).

Or, in other words, in my dream I see myself acting as if I were awake (meaning that I cannot see my own head), however I also see myself from a third-person perspective, as if I were a ghost lingering a few feet away from own body. It is both an out-of-body and an in-body experience!

Both of these perspectives were one. Unfortunately, I do not know how to describe this experience adequately using words. All I can say is that I dreamed in both first-person and third-person at the same time.

For example, part of my dream involved me opening drawers in a white-tile bathroom. In my experience of the dream, I saw myself opening these drawers in the first-person perspective. Meaning that I could see my arms in front of me reach and open drawers, I could see my feet below me, and I was unable to see my own face or head – meaning that I was viewing the dream through the perspective of myself. Or, I was viewing this dream as a self.

However, at the same time, I was simultaneously viewing the dream from a third-person perspective. Meaning that I felt as if I was ghost, standing back and watching a body (which was me) perform the task of opening the bathroom drawers. It was as if I was some kind of spirit, floating above the bathroom, watching a body move around. However, the body moving around in the bathroom was myself – or at least, it was a person whose movements were identical to the movements that I was experiencing in first person. Also, from my third-person perspective, I was able to see that the person opening and closing the drawers had the same haircut, the same face, and the same body as me – so it must have been me.

Yes, I was watching myself in the third-person, but I was also seeing the dream in first-person. Again, I do not know how to adequately describe this experience in words, and in all honesty it is probably an experience beyond language. Simply because language is based solely on making distinctions – language works because each word is different from another word. If all the words in a language were the same, then it would be impossible to understand what the language was trying to convey. A language works because words are different, and because the difference allows different ideas to be conveyed. However, this experience of mine (seeing in both first-person and third-person) was not really distinct – indeed, it felt unified – as if everything was one. I was seeing myself as a separate self (third-person), and I was seeing myself as myself (first-person).

So what could have been the meaning to this dream? Was there even a meaning to this dream? Who knows – but after contemplating the dream, I believe that, to some extent, it may have similarities with Hindu doctrines. Hinduism emphasizes monism, or the idea that everything is ultimately one. God, man, nature, the universe – it is all one reality (Brahman).

Basically, in this dream I was seeing the world through my own self perspective, but also from the perspective of a third-person, as if I was a ghost or something. However, in the third-person view there was no body visible – instead it was as if I was just a form of consciousness floating in the air (I have had this experience before using marijuana, when I had a sensation that I had left my body and was floating above a room as just a form of consciousness). In this dream the third-person viewpoint was similar – I had no body and no material form – I was simply consciousness floating above in the air.

So, in this dream I was seeing the world as a distinctive self (first-person) and as an immaterial observer (third-person). Although the perspectives were different, I felt an underlying unity. There was no difference between the me that I saw in first-person and the me floating in the air as a form of consciousness. I felt unified – as if I was the same as everything around me – the only difference was the change in perspective. Everything else was the same.

Thus, perhaps this dream is similar to Hinduism in that Hinduism teaches everything is ultimately one. The only reason there appear to be distinctions, or differences, or individuals is due to illusions – or perspectives. Hinduism teaches that the self is ultimately the same as Brahman, or the highest reality. To put it in more understandable terms for western readers, Hinduism essentially teaches that you and God are the same thing. That the distinction between you and God is an illusion, and that, through meditation and mindfulness, one can know God because one knows themselves.

In this dream, I experienced the world as myself but I also experienced it as if I were a God, or Brahman. As if I were a non-material existence that could not be affected by anything in the world. However, in both cases I felt the exact the same. The only difference was the perspective. I think that, in a way, this dream was showing me that there is no difference between ‘myself’ and the ‘world around me’. We are both the same – it is only a matter of perspective that makes one think that they are distinct from everything around them. In this dream my ‘self’ was the same as the ‘world’ around me. We were both one. Perspective was the only thing that differed.

On Hinduism

I am usually critical of organized religion, but every now and then I look around, I analyze my thoughts, and I think to myself ‘The Hindu’s were right all along’.

Monism, all paths leading to Brahman, the illusion of contradiction, the Kali Yuga, cyclical time, Moksha – I believe in all of these things in one form or another. Perhaps not exactly as a true Hindu would, but these ‘Hindu’ ideas are very much ones that I hold in one way or another.

Do We Actually Exist?

I exist – I am sure of that. After all, some say that ones existence may only be an illusion – but how can something nonexistent experience an illusion?

For example, an illusion is defined as ‘a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses’. If I don’t exist – how could I possibly experience an ‘illusion’? Some part of me must ‘exist’ in order to perceive an illusion.
A second definition of an illusion is ‘a false idea or belief’. Similar to the first definition, in order to have or hold some belief (whether true or false) one must exist to hold that belief. I must exist to have a belief. If my existence is an illusion, that would mean that I am nonexistent – hence I wouldn’t be able to believe or perceive anything – indeed ‘I’ wouldn’t be anything – because I wouldn’t exist.
To say that my existence, my pure existence in the most bare sense of the word, is an illusion would be wrong. But there is the possibility that parts of my existence are an illusion. Not the whole of my existence itself – but parts of it.
I exist but I may perceive my existence in a different light than it truly is. For example, the Hindu teacher Shankara taught that everything is one, and that the ‘differences’ or ‘contradictions’ we see are merely illusions. In other words, this means that I exist, but that my own personal identity, my sense of being an individual, my unqiue psyche – all of this is an illusion. I and everyone else are all the same – we are all the same existence. Illusion is what causes us to see or perceive a ‘self’ that is separate from other ‘selves’.
So, technically my own view of my existence may be an illusion, but the actual existence itself is not an illusion. One must exist in order to question ones own existence. Something has to exist in order to experience an illusion. So, the act of wondering if you really exist or not is rather pointless. (Although, one could argue that there is no ‘you’ – that we’re all one and therefore an idea of ‘you’ is an illusion, but nonetheless even if everything is ‘one’ there is still some kind of existence in place)
 Tl;dr there is some sort of existence that constitutes ‘you’, however the experience or feeling of an ‘individual you’, that is, a ‘you’ separate from others, may be an illusion.

No Self

The more I study myself, the more I realize that ‘my self’ is largely an illusion. Perhaps there really is no self. That would explain why the Buddhist monks put so much emphasis on self-discovery – because the longer one studies themselves, the more one realizes that there really is no self. Look deep inside your soul and you begin to see that there’s nothing there – it’s just emptiness, no self.

On Attachment

Attachment leads to suffering. However, in all practicality, we will always be attached to one thing or another. The goal then should be to try and limit our attachment to only those things which are worth suffering over – the things that actually play a pivotal and meaningful role in our lives. Everything else should be discarded.