Saturday, May 05, 2007

Thinking vs. Being

There’s a particular difference in me between thinking and being; what I believe versus how I operate and what I do.

I believe or am mostly convinced by the idea that everything is impermanent as the Buddhists say and some Buddhist’s experience as a moment-to-moment reality. That all our creations and any fame will evaporate. So, in a larger sense, Einstein’s fame or some lesser thinker’s fame are about the same since it all passes away. It depends on which perspective you take. If you choose the standpoint of eternity, or think in terms of the extinction of humanity, does it matter so much what you accomplished? If you take a more limited or local perspective it can matter very much. Which perspective one takes on existence at any given moment plays a part in determining how one judges how one is succeeding in leading this life.

Yet this understanding of the Great Impermanence, which seems so undeniably true, does not affect my actions and way of living. I still try to get recognition and feel it’s very important whether I do or not. The successes and failures of my intellectual creations affect me, yet are, on another level, an ultimately fruitless enterprise. It’s odd to be emotionally affected by something, that on another level, I think is meaningless. My acting and my feelings contradict my beliefs day after day.

The being yearns to get or create something lasting while the mind thinks that nothing lasts.

Buddhist practice tries to get the mind and body to witness and experience the impermanence and so get mind and being in accord. I don’t seem motivated to do that.

Psychoanalytic practice recommends understanding the roots of the yearning for eternity in - if you are Ernst Becker or Otto Rank - the denial of death or, in some other depth psychology, the frustrated need for love.

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