Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Red-Tinged Grass

Another reflective moment, the countless people I've met over the years, life as a series of stages. Nostalgia... When we stop walking, and sit for awhile, the thought that everyone we're meeting now, most people we have yet to meet, that these too will be washed away by the tide. Thoughts of doing things together, as a team, does it sap us, add a new urgency to these when we see that most likely they're part of our future past-and-gone? I am amused to think that my present coat is from before my first relationship of any kind, that it's about ten years old. It's mild repairs over the years are certainly less than I've needed. In the end, it's rare that we can hold on to more than 1d4-1 hands over the years we have to cross until our end. I suppose the endless turnings of the seasons and the slow wrinkling of our faces can be company enough for a time. So much tragedy isn't really - the struggle for meaning, to build or destroy, is one which we all lose and win to varying degrees in various parts... Hmm... Sometimes it's beautiful and surprising to see some kinds of change we never would expect, and to go under is the greatest adventure.

I find Buddhist philosophy appealing in some ways, and I've been thinking about how the tenets I do not share alter their framework. As I understand, we have:

  • Anatman - Strong notions of the self, soul, and identity are delusion
  • Anicca - Suffering is inherent in ever part of existence
  • Dukkha - Impermanence is in all things - no people, places, things, or ideas are fixed
By and large, I've come to agree with these things and find great wisdom in associated philosophy on the topics. I do not, however, believe in Nirvana or an afterlife (I have some speculative explorations down this route that seem like a moderately compelling alternative framework that I may have blogged about before that I won't go into here unless someone is really interested). I can understand various interpretations of Anatman that might be made, some of which are quite deep, and some of them form other alternate frameworks for understanding the self and nature of things that are also kind of compelling. If we decide on a fairly shallow notion of Anatman that simply acknowledges that people change over time and that the Joseph Campbellesque roles we assign to ourselves and strong identity are flawed, and view the whole self as a system that automatically, in itself, reaches annihilation on death, does it still resemble Buddhism? What if we suppose that without a strong attachment to a few desires, life is empty, and seek not to starve the self so much as greatly thin it?

In the end, it doesn't really matter so much - the name of Buddhism, and the many terms that can be attached to those terms, they don't matter so much to me. When I read the sutras, I'm reading with the philosopher's eye, not the faithful. When one can take bits and leave others, and not need the terms of others, but build new ones for oneself, one becomes one of Nietzsche's creator, whether agreeing or disagreeing with other content of Nietzsche (perhaps better even to disagree).

Tags: philosophy

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