In what reality do you live?
Warning: This post is not on the XX steps to become the smartest entrepreneur, public speaker, macho and so on
This is a post on a deep introspective journey that started many years ago when I began to ask myself the Big Questions, and it seems that this journey has never stopped and never will…which is a good thing!
I am going to share with you my personal idea concerning the reality we live in and how I have come to understand it, accept it, and live accordingly
I discovered that we live in a paradoxical reality, three-realities in one, and the secret is to learn how to live all of them at once: the sensical, the praxeological, and the metaphysical reality, but let me explain this process
“knowing their essential eternity, man is able to live his whole life without restrictions and fear of what he can lose, this is the secret of all creative work” (Alan Watts)
The Sensical Reality (Maya)
At the first sight the answer seems quite obvious, of course there is only one reality! That you observe! The one that you see, touch, and smell, the reality of the senses!
How can you see and grasp any reality different from this?
Yes! This is what I call the sensical reality, the reality of the external world, the reality of the Aristotelian logic; the reality of time and space, of cause and effect, of the observer and the observed, the knower and the knownn, the before and after, of the “necessary logic” consequence of any action and event.
As an Italian, it always amazed me that in English to ask if something is logical and consequential you ask “does it make sense?” As if for something to be logical, it must be realized by our senses!
But here I confronted one fundamental issue; if this is the only reality and if I start asking which cause had caused a given action or event I am considering, and what caused that cause, and so on going back to the beginning, I can’t avoid arriving at the thought of the so-called “ultimate cause,” the Cause from where everything started. But what is the ultimate cause? How and when was everything started? And who started it? Who caused it or how it was caused by itself? Who was, or what is the first mover or the first movement?
Here you can go in only one of two directions. You can assume that someone has created this reality, and we imagine who he is, we call Him God. Or you can assume that it has just always been like this. It has not been created from anyone but started by itself, by “The Case.”
But here there is an issue. In both cases you have to “believe,” you have to have “faith” in the direction you chose. Unfortunately, there is not another question that you can ask, except, maybe, who came before but this only leads to an infinitely regressive circular loop…
In either case, you have to stop short at “faith.” In the first case you will have faith that the first mover is God, the religion faith, in the second is The Case, the materialistic/relativisitc faith.
This is the world of religion, of natural science, of technology, of so-called “progress.”
But is it enough?
Is this not the total abssence of freedom? the starting point of a dangerous determinism?
What else is determinism if not the total subjugation of our lives to the Case, to the Fate, to the will of an “external” God, to a “mechanistic” order of universe or to the effect of all past events?
Where is your true freedom?
To me, no. I still felt unsatisfied. Indeed, I was thinking that if this were the case, you will never be sure of anything (relativism). You have to stop short at faith, at the point where the first Mover is going to be God or The Case, and to me this conclusion is going to open the door to a dangerous principle which is that you are ruled by an external entity, be God or The Case, which as ultimate consequence is going to bring you to religion or the materialistic fundamentalism.
So I didn’t stop there, I couldn’t stop there. I felt that there are other possibilities, other directions. I was not happy that I would have to accept by faith such ultimate truth
It was too clear to me that faith in God will end in the religious fundamentalism and the faith in The Case in the materialism/relativism and i didn’t like it
The Praxeological Reality (Atman)
So I kept searching until I found myself finally driving in another direction, this time the approach was different. This time we knew the ultimate cause, we knew who is the first mover!
It’s just me!
Me as a human being, I am the first mover just being a human, because I act, purposefully, always with an end,a goal in my mind. I can’t even think of an action without a purpose, an end. Indeed I always decide among different ends, I always choose among different means which are going to satisfy the end (the means are always less than the ends)
And I do this because I am moved by just one universal force: uneasiness
I do this every instant of my life. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning untilI I close them when I go to bed and fall asleep. Only when I sleep, finally, I stop fighting with this universal force (it’s said that to fall asleep is how to die)
I act, I choose, I decide, all those words mean human action, just and only because, as a human being, I constantly try to move from a situation of permanent uneasiness to one of less uneasiness.
It’s a kind of moving from a permanent pain, an infliction, a fire that is always burning inside me, just because I am a human, I don’t know from where it comes, but it’s there, always. And I have to move, I have to choose, decide, act (also the decision to not move and stay still is a purposeful human action!), I could not even think to do otherwise
Please, do this exercise: try to think otherwise and send me an example of any action which goes, consciously and purposefully, from a state of uneasiness to a more uneasiness one!
From the most simple action that you do in the morning, like deciding to stay in bed a few more minutes rather than to take a shower, to the most difficult ones of whether to go to college rather than take the nice new job offer. You are always acting, choosing, deciding, moved by the universal force: dissatisfaction
This is the law of Human Action as discovered and explained by the giant of the twentieth century, the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Von Mises and it has been called Praxeology (from the greek praxy = action)
This is a universal law!
Here I know who is the first mover, I know what is the ultimate cause : the uneasiness that is inside me as human being!
Isn’t it the so-called original sin?
And from this ultimate cause I can logically build, step-by-step, a whole theory of human action (praxeology), which yields a complete theory of economics, politics, and sociology. I can do this because, here, I know with certainty the ultimate cause, without any doubt and without any faith or belief.
The praxeological reality is a kind of bridge between the sensical and the methaphisical reality which we are going to consider now
If you are curious, here is the Book: the ultimate foundation of economic science (Ludwig Von Mises)
Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito
The Metaphysical Reality (Brahma)
Todo lo que tiende a su propria perfeccion tiende a asemejarse a lo divino (Saint Tomas, Contra Gentiles, in spanish)
You think that at this point I would have to stop. That, finally, my curiosity had found peace, that I had found the answer to the Big Question, and yet, and yet there was something that was beginning to hum quietly inside my head. I started to ask the question that Mises put aside, or so he wrote. (Personally, I think that he actually asked this further question to himself, he was too much of a logician to not make the necessary next steps, and I am quite sure that he also gave himself the right answer.) Indeed I think that as he was too engaged in developing the whole economic/sociologic theory starting from the human action principle, he did not consider it useful to get involved publicly, especially in that time, in this “metaphysical” matter (also considering the fierce struggle that he was fighting against socialism and Keynesianism).
But, what is this further question?
Even if the human action law is a universal law, then, a question still remains, why is that?
Why do we live and why do we have to live in this state of permanent uneasiness ?
it’s a Pandora Box! And when you start down the rabbit hole, you can’t stop. Now you have to go beyond the human action law, beyond the “Aristotelian” logic, beyond the mind. Now I couldn’t avoid to go to the metaphysical and start thinking and reading on this subject. In doing so, I discovered the oriental tradition through the writings of another great giant of the twentieth century: Renè Guènon
Here, I discovered that there is indeed something which is beyond the external reality of the senses, even beyond the Aristotelian logic!
Do you know that there is a different logic, the so-called Indian logic which posits, “logically”, the existence and the reality outside the senses? The reality of metaphysics, of the unseen, of the so-called not manifested?
Yes! I discovered something which is even beyond the human action law and of the reality of the senses and the mind.
I had to realize that it could not be grasped by reason, but only feeling inside, by “realization,” by what the orientals say is called the sixth sense or the pure intellect!
But to grasp a hint of what this realization means we can even use our Aristotelian logic, the logic of sense, the logic of the cause and the effect, but only as a starting point, as a bridge to go beyond the mind.
It seems undeniable, even to the most rational mind, to think, to understand and, finally, to realize that we live only in the Present, that the past and the future are only a consequence of such an eternal Present.
Here we have to try to focus and realize that we live only in the Present, the future and the past are merely a construction of the Present. The past and the future exist only in our mind and are just an illusion.
Please, take a second of your time and think about it carefully. Since you woke up in the morning and started acting, moved by the universal and powerful force, uneasiness, you only live and act in the Present. Your future is a Present that will come and your past is the Present that has already gone by. They are not real, never, they will always appear as Present which is the only thing that exists!
But this is the most difficult thing to grasp as you could only realize it outside your mind, outside your logic, especially, as Westerner, you are imbued with the Aristotelian logic, with time and space, past and future, means and ends.
Think about it, you have to understand, to grasp a paradox!
If you are curious here the book: Introduction to the studies of the Hindù Doctrines, Renè Geènon
Yes, we live in a paradoxical world, we live in three different realities. To understand, accept, realize, and practice how to live in these three different realities is what I am doing everyday.
To accept living in a sensical reality, I try enjoying every second of it but never forgetting that it is simply an illusion, just a game, indeed an infinite game to play.
To accept living in a praxeological reality, I recognize that I am always moved by this fire which burns inside me which we have named in different ways : uneasiness, dissatisfaction, anxiety, boredom, pursuit of happiness, and so on. I know that this the only universal rule of this infinite game.
To accept living in a metaphysical reality, I acknowledge that the only “true” reality is inside me, that I always live in the Present, that I create my world, my universe, that, at the end, I am the First Mover!
To grasp the paradox that perfection is to learn to live without choosing, in perfect spontaneity
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