The Nature of our Morality and Emotions (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 191)

Our moral values, our emotions, our loves are no less real for being part of nature, for being shared with the animal world, or for being determined by the evolution that our species has undergone over millions of years. Rather, they are more valuable as a result of this: they are real. They are the complex reality of which we are made. Our reality is tears and laughter, gratitude and altruism, loyalty and betrayal, the past that haunts us and serenity. Our reality is made up of our societies, of the emotion inspired by music, of the rich intertwined networks of the common knowledge that we have constructed together. All of this is part of the self-same “nature” that we are describing. We are an integral part of nature; we are nature, in one of its innumerable and infinitely variable expressions.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Carlo Rovelli          2014

And Under the Gaze of God? (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 189)

It was a life of order and strict service, an unending sacrifice, a constantly renewed striving for clarity and justice. It was much purer, much better than the life of an artist, vagrant, and seducer of women. But seen from above, with God’s eyes — was this exemplary life of order and discipline, of renunciation of the world and of the joys of the senses, of remoteness from dirt and blood, of withdrawal into philosophy and meditation any better than Goldmund’s life? Had man really been created to live a regulated life, with hours and duties indicated by prayer bells? Had man really been created to study Aristotle and Saint Thomas, to know Greek, to extinguish his senses, to flee the world? Had God not created him with senses and instincts, with blood-colored darknesses, with the capacity for sin, lust, and despair? These were the questions around which the Abbot’s thoughts circled when they dwelt upon his friend.

Yes, and was it not perhaps more childlike and human to lead a Goldmund-life, more courageous, more noble perhaps in the end to abandon oneself to the cruel stream of reality, to chaos, to commit sins and accept their bitter consequences rather than live a clean life with washed hands outside the world, laying out a lonely harmonious thought-garden, strolling sinlessly among one’s sheltered flower beds. Perhaps it was harder, braver and nobler to wander through the forests and along the highways with torn shoes, to suffer sun and rain, hunger and need, to play with the joys of the senses and pay for them with suffering.

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930

It is Little to Give (Love vs Sex 246)

“What is there I can give you? Love, it is true.”

“And is that so little?” I asked looking into his eyes.

“Yes, my dear, it is little to give you,” he went on. “You have beauty and youth. Often now I cannot sleep at night for happiness: I lie awake and think of our future life together. I have lived through a great deal, and I think I have found what is needed for happiness: a quiet, secluded life here in the depths of the country, with the possibility of doing good to people to whom it is easy to do good which they are not accustomed to receiving; then work – work which one hopes may be of some use; then leisure, nature, books, music, love for a kindred spirit – such is my idea of happiness, and I dreamed of none higher. And now, to crown it all, I get you, a family perhaps, and all that the heart of man could desire.”

“It should be enough,” I said.

“Enough for me whose youth is over, but not for you,” he pursued. “You have not seen anything of life yet. You may want to seek happiness elsewhere, and perhaps find it in something different. At present you believe that this is happiness because you love me.”

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

Cribb Comment: I am extremely fond of this passage. Tolstoy reveals the hard to tell truth about love that most do not want to hear or even come close to contemplating; it must be grandiose and dramatic, fervent and uber passionate, and a thrill ride of unending emotional hype, stimulation, and volatile exchange, never just basic, simple, easy, and quietly profound in its energy and transcending bond. He also touches on the attainment and understanding of happiness in life which requires a security and willful stability in individual perspective and contentment of purpose. His promotion of the importance of untainted and unhypocritical good will towards his fellow man is also captured elegantly and succinctly by “doing good to people who are not used to such things and doing so without forcing this “good” upon them in an overstep of intent.” Lastly, his point of youth and its hunger, aware or unaware, for more than love, for more than genuine happiness, is presented with the unselfish tenderness and empathy of a saint. It is an undeniable truth that most youthful “old souls” can’t quite accept about themselves and their overriding desire. They seem unable to digest that real happiness and real love might just be too pure, obtainable, and stable, for the premises and constructs they have anchored into their psyche as defining a normal existence.

I would have preferred for Tolstoy to postulate a manner or theory in which these two characters could have worked together to address and resolve the youthful subconscious yearnings (their burden of misunderstood nervous and excitable egocentric energy) of the wife more effectively and profoundly. It would seem that Tolstoy might believe such a transition utterly impossible without the context of further life experience to curb and temper such youthful yearning.

2017

The Inheritance of All Healers (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 156)

“One time,” said Castle, “when I was about fifteen, there was a mutiny near here on a Greek ship bound from Hong Kong to Havana with a load of wicker furniture. the mutineers got control of the ship, didn’t know how to run her, and smashed her up on the rocks near “Papa”Monzano’s castle. Everybody drowned but the rats. The rats and the wicker furniture came ashore.”

That seemed the end of the story, but I couldn’t be sure. “So?”

“So some people got free furniture, and some people got bubonic plague. At Father’s hospital, we had fourteen hundred deaths inside of ten days. Have you ever seen anyone die of bubonic plague?”

“That unhappiness has not bee mine.”

“The lymph glands in the groin and the armpits swell to the size of grapefruit.”

“I can well believe it.”

“After death, the body turns black—coals to Newcastle in the case of San Lorenzo. When the plague was having everything its own way, the House of Hope and Mercy in the Jungle looked like Auschwitz or Buchenwald. We had stacks of dead so deep and wide that a bulldozer actually stalled trying to shove them toward a common grave. Father worked without sleep for days, worked not only without sleep but without saving many lives, either.”

“Well, finish your story anyway.”

“Where was I?”

“The bubonic plague. The bulldozer was stalled by corpses.”

“Oh, yes. Anyway, one sleepless night I stayed up with Father while he worked. It was all we could do to find a live patient to treat. In bed after bed after bed we found dead people.

And Father started giggling,” Castle continued.

“He couldn’t stop. He walked out into the night with his flashlight. He was still giggling. He was making the flashlight beam dance over all the dead people stacked outside. He put his hand on my head, and do you know what that marvelous man said to me?” asked Castle.

“Nope.”

“‘Son,’ my father said to me, ‘someday this will all be yours.'”

Cat’s Cradle

Kurt Vonnegut          1963

The Why Out of the Matrix (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 148)

The Why Out of the Matrix

Smith :

Why Mr. Anderson?

Why?

Why?

Why do you do it?

Why?

Why get up?

Why keep fighting?

Do you think you are fighting for something more than your survival?

Can you tell me what it is?

Do you even know?

Is it freedom…

or truth,

perhaps peace,

could it be for love? ….

illusions, Mr. Anderson,

vagaries of perception…

temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence

that is without meaning or purpose.

And all of them,

as artificial as the Matrix itself…

Although,

only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love…

You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson…

You must know it by now…

You can’t win.

It’s pointless to keep fighting.

Why Mr. Anderson?

Why?

Why do you persist?

Neo (at almost a whisper):

because

I

choose to

Matrix Revolutions

2003

A Simple and Profoundly Unacceptable Solution (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 141)

“Time and craving,” said Mr. Propter, “craving and time—two aspects of the same thing; and that thing is the raw material of evil. So you see Pete,” he added in another tone, “you see what a queer sort of present you’ll be making us, if you’re successful in your work.* Another century or so of time and craving. A couple of extra life-times of potential evil.”

And potential good,” the young man insisted with a note of protest in his voice.

And potential good,” Mr. Propter agreed. “But only at a far remove from that extra time you’re giving us.”

“Why do you say that?” Pete asked.

“Because potential evil is in time; potential good isn’t. The longer you live, the more evil you automatically come into contact with. Nobody comes automatically into contact with good. Men don’t find more good by merely existing longer. It’s curious,” he went on reflectively, “that people should always have concentrated on the problem of evil. Exclusively. As though the nature of good were something self-evident. But it isn’t self-evident. There’s a problem of good at least as difficult as the problem of evil.”

“And what’s the solution?” Pete asked.

“The solution is very simple and profoundly unacceptable. Actual good is outside time.”

*Pete’s work is focused upon life extension.

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan

Aldous Huxley          1939

 

Killing the Future and Stealing the Past (WPMY 120)

In our country, it seems that most prefer to talk of and about dead people

or

the things that they really want to kill,

as opposed to participating in a truly genuine and peaceful conversation,

in the actual present,

with a living entity capable of speaking for and about themselves.

One might associate such speaking for the dead

as a form of living in the past,

and speaking of killing whoever in the future,

as a form of living in the future.

Appreciative remembrance and the celebration of a passed life,

has always seemed more devout and profound to me,

when the living minimize their dilution of the essence passed.

Vitriolic rhetoric and war mongering about killing in the future,

is always proclaimed most vehemently by those most terrified of living in the present

and

having to acknowledge that their “enemy” might be more justified in their opinions

and actions,

than they happen to be themselves.

Killing the future and stealing the past,

certainly makes it easier for people

to avoid the truthful reality of the present.

Cribb          2016