An amalgamation of thought

It is not long ago that I was introduced to imane by Eddie Capstick. I had the ambition to organise a Hackathon at the Climate Conference #COP22 in Marrakech this year and she is based there. I am unsure whether I will actually manage that, but that is besides the point.

Imane founded ‘Fernwehian’, a startup that provides experiences to individuals to allow them to find what they are yearning for in terms of intellectual capacity. Obviously, given my ambition of empowerment through Meeka and Mindful Meerkats, I was intrigued.

She invited me to be part of a so-called Purple Buddha Brain Cafe, where she would dedicate one Sunday morning to explore the depth of humanity and take a dive into whatever comes to mind and start dissect. And, boy, did we dive…

How are Love, Evil, Superiority, Language, Death and Veganism connected? Well, Purple Buddha is the answer. But let me attempt to connect the dots.

We started talking about the love is at the same time over- and undervalued, how romanticism exaggerates, and then again how love is too quickly assumed to be real and so on. Given that we did not know each other, we were very quick to leapfrog introductory chit-chat and struck the cords of sharing intimate stories around love and pain. When we tried to explore the meaning and the subtleties of different notions of love, we rushed through plenty of different topics. Between the love for family, friends and moments, but also the different dimensions of love you can experience for one individual between emotional, sexual and intellectual love and connection.

From there, we reflected on the meaning of evil as the supposed theoretical counterpart of love, and tried to identify whether it was an inherent element of humanity or rather something that has been socialized via the paradigm that shapes contemporary life. Evidently, looking from a goal-based perspective, this was a futile discussion given that it cannot be answered unequivocally. We touched upon the debate around the Social contract by Rousseau and Hobbes Leviathan, the age-old split between the human in its natural state to be evil or good.

Throughout our conversation it was apparent to both of us that we shared a passion for language and semantics. That became most visible when we broke out into a heated debate over ‘superiority’. It took us a while to notice that we just had diverging views of what this term meant. While I applied a hierarchical understanding, where someone superior had power over someone else, Imane rather looked at it from a Buddhist stance, where it describes a level of consciousness that is above average. It was certainly amusing to us to notice that we actually were trying to say the same thing, but were lost in each other’s terminological biases.

From moral superiority and the nature of evil, the topic of ethically just food consumption is not far. We branched off into a conversation on the meaning of vegetarian diets and the friction between good intention and ideology. Again, after a while we noticed that our seeming disparity on the matter dissolved itself on the abstract notion of awareness. As soon as you make an aware choice and allow yourself to balance between different food choices, you are already diverging from the norm. And, from a perspective of ecological thinking, I would personally certainly prefer a homogenous world population of people that rarely eat organic or wild meats and make a conscious effort to reduce meat consumption, also known as flexitarians or conscious carnivores (as @DVitalis from the Rewild Yourself Podcast calls it in a stunningly authentic reflection) over a fragmented, segregated society of ideologically solid meat-only eaters, health advocates or vegans and vegetarians that try to preach. For me, my respect for a lifestyle choice rescinds when it has partially become identificatory, and you questioning the choice equals questioning the person herself/himself. I deem it a valuable exercise to allow yourself to be exposed to criticism and your ideas to be constantly questioned and scrutinized. Like a fire trying to scathe a forest, only an external shock can prove the resilience of a system. This also applies to an idea. Or, to put it in Popper’s words: “Kill the Ideas, not the People”. So we should recurringly expose ourselves to opposite approaches and be our own devil’s advocates.

All in all, the journey led us astray plenty a time. But isn’t true immersion in a conversation where deep learning starts? Where the structured approach of information is overcome by the fuzzy logic and chaotic explosions of wisdom?