If only for once and for all we could settle the question of what ‘really’ is out ‘there’. Reality, as has been revealed to me, changes forms and shapes continually. And I keep rummaging in the dark (borrowing the phrase from my previous composition), trying in vain to find that the one thread that connects all that I see, think and feel here. Yet all that connects them is this ‘I’, is my own self.
There are two ways to look at values and principles. One is to accept them as the basis of thoughts and actions, guiding them consciously and uncounsciously. The second is to view them as rules which achieve simplification, and in the process make life easier and viable.
Think of a mind without any basis to reach a decision. Is it possible to have no basis? Or a denial of their existence is just a figment of my imagination? These questions make it necessary to discover all possible basis and verify their existence thereof.
There are I believe certain definite realities. First and foremost, is the reality of the being, the body. Its needs, its sensuality, all these are most real in the sense that I cannot wish away hunger or sexuality as much as I have tried to in the fashion of Buddhists or puritans. In this ‘reality of being’ there is a definite hierarchy of ‘beings’ which brings us to the reality of specie and to the second level of reality..
The need to co-exist is the second level of reality, which is very closely connected to the first one. Or stripping the word ‘need’, plainly ‘co-existence’. Harmony between the beings and the species. At this level comes the first conflict between the ‘I’ and the ‘them’, then ‘Us’ and ‘them’ and finally ‘I’ and ‘Us’. It is as if the self is at times pitched against the external world.
Yet does this imply that the ‘I’ does not have any conflict in itself? I think to an extent co-existence necessitates certain prohibitions on the self, however in so far as this co-existence is ‘necessary’, the ‘being’, the ‘self’ will willingly compromise. But there are instances of conflicts, which depend on the kind of compromises were demanded from the self.
But is co-existence the only source of conflict in the self? Will there be conflict inside a self without being caused by the external world? The question to an extent is meaningless till we answer the other more basic question – is the existence of the ‘self’ possible without the external world? The answer seems to be no. So far as I can see, all selves are at the same time independent of and yet dependent on each other.
After the second level of reality there is the third level which is an offshoot of the second one, namely the socio-political structures we see around us. They are real in so far as they exist today, But they are ‘structures’ implying that what we’ve seen so far is/are just particular manifestation(s) belonging to a myriad of possibilities. The reason the structures seem more real, much more real than the first level of reality which sadly has been often slighted as ‘libido’, is the fact that though they change they never change drastically enough so as to shake our belief in them. Money, marriage, love, society, politics, religion, nations and even deuce, all belong to this level of reality.
To be sure human beings are not the only one to possess this kind of reality other beings too have some sort of social fabric: some obvious examples are ant colonies, beehives and so on. But there is a difference in the extent to which the beings are enmeshed in this level of reality. This brings us to values and principles.
And what is the origin of values and principles? I think in the second and the third level of reality. Much more so in the third because the formulation of these principles is based on the terminology, the language, the structure of the third level. Why are these values and principles necessary? Most times to enforce the order, sometimes to subvert the existing order with an aim to replace it with a new one. But the function of values and principles is nevertheless to sustain order, and yet maintain continuity and flow.
To attach higher value to order or to disorder will be a flaw at this stage. To go one step further and assert that human beings should give up the third level and move little closer to other beings can also be mistaken. Not as society but as individuals do we overcome these super-structures. As individuals this is the reality which is the farthest to us, but us societies as peoples this is the only reality in which we live.
What does this translate to on a day to day basis? If I’ve overcome this level as an individual do I become a voracious impulse-driven being? Again I think the answer can be found if we look around. Our ‘natural’ time here has to be spent in some way. I also have a mind/brain which needs occupation. Also the task of overcoming the third level is not that easy. If we devote ourselves just to this, I think we can spend several ‘natural’ lifetimes.
Also in this state of detachment or proximity to complete detachment, one can devote oneself to finding the ‘right’ chords in the third level of reality. When the judgement is not clouded by scruples about right and wrong, by valuations of virtue and vice, it can be possible to understand the third level completely.
And what about change and revolution? I think the third level can be described as, to borrow a cliche, a ‘necessary evil’. And as long as it is necessary, we can wish to make changes. But changes on what basis?
We return to the question of basis. To make every being sufficiently free from the third level so that he can experience the first and the second level of reality. That could be one basis. I am still not sure. This ‘freedom’ itself has to be achieved from the inside and the outside. The being himself has to change in certain ways for the change to reflect in the third level. Revolutionaries can only perhaps guide the change. The change will sustain only if individuals change accordingly. But there are so many changes at smaller levels that do not require an upheaval of the whole order and yet can take us one step closer to the idea. There are many people working for changes at such level. However as long as the overarching thought process remains the same, there will be a lot of conflict and resentment. There might be many who without their knowledge are working to sustain or strengthen rather than to change the order. It is important to have a discerning eye.
Due to our distrust of or detachment from the third level then, should we loose the will to live? No. That is unnecessary. It is enough I think to realize and understand of all this. And then to enjoy life, experience it like a child, having no conceptions, no delusions, no overarching simplifications. Just awe and surprise. A difficult stage to achieve.
Impulse to philosophize
Apologies to Nietzsche