• Michael Zwingli
    417
    what you mean by 'the horror at how alone we truly are'? What do you have in mind here?Tom Storm
    I mean, the horror of the realization that nobody will ever love or value me nearly as much as they do themselves. That in the end, myself, my life, and my hopes don't mean a shit to anybody else...that to them, I am just an object to be used in the achievement of their ends, and am otherwise utterly expendable.
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    OK. I don't find this resonates with me. This takes a particular slant on human behavior I don't hold.
  • praxis
    4.3k
    This is self-contradictory, if people don’t benefit from cooperation then they don’t cooperate.
    — praxis

    I might be wrong, but I don't view the matter thusly, thinking that the motive behind all cooperative behavior is selfish.
    Michael Zwingli

    I don’t see how we’re in disagreement. Cooperation isn’t necessarily selfless or selfish, though as I mentioned, people realize that they may personally benefit from cooperation so they cooperate out of self-interest.
  • Janus
    11.3k
    I mean, the horror of the realization that nobody will ever love or value me nearly as much as they do themselves. That in the end, myself, my life, and my hopes don't mean a shit to anybody else...that to them, I am just an object to be used in the achievement of their ends, and am otherwise utterly expendable.Michael Zwingli

    Do you care about anyone other than yourself? Even if not, do you allow that others may feel differently?
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    I wonder too if finding pleasure in, say, anonymously donating money to a charity is the same type of pleasure as finding pleasure in murdering children.Tom Storm
    Well, that's a bit of a hyperbolic contrast, but no, obviously not. Very obviously different types of pleasure, but the motives are equally self serving in both cases.
  • Wayfarer
    14.1k
    in the end, myself, my life, and my hopes don't mean a shit to anybody else...that to them, I am just an object to be used in the achievement of their ends, and am otherwise utterly expendable.Michael Zwingli

    You should consider if that might be something like a self-fulfilling prophecy, or self-reinforcing, at any rate.

    I think the problem you're having, if you don't mind me saying, is that you find it impossible to conceive of any motivation beyond self-interest.
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    This takes a particular slant on human behavior I don't hold.Tom Storm
    I wish that I didn't have to hold it, either. I wish I could revert to believing otherwise, but since around 2009 I've seen too much to contribute to the opinion that I hold, that I don't expect any return will be possible...just seen too much of how people seem truly to be in recent years.
    Do you care about anyone other than yourself?Janus
    There are a couple of people that I truly care about, but all in all, I think that most humans aren't worth a shit, to be quite frank. I have become so callous, that occasionally I shock myself these days. On one occasion a few weeks ago, I disembarked at a bus stop and here's this guy obviously overdosing on heroin (probably fentanyl these days) with a couple of girls there calling "911". I actually found myself telling these chicks as I passed them by, "don't even bother, fuck that loser". Then, later on, I found myself thinking, "man, who am I?". Maybe now I should move to NYC, where I suppose I'd fit right in, as we all stepped over the addicts on the way to the office.
    Even if not, do you allow that others may feel differently?Janus
    I once believed that people might, but now...I dunno. I have lost most of the faith that I once had in human decency. These days, even when I meet a person who seems what you might call "nice", I find myself thinking, "yeah, this is just the mask he/she shows to the world".
    Maybe we should jerk this puppy back on topic, though.
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    Thanks for your frankness. People's experiences can vary greatly and, at the risk of entering phenomenology via the wrong thread, we all see the world differently. Take care.
  • baker
    3.3k
    I wonder too if finding pleasure in, say, anonymously donating money to a charity is the same type of pleasure as finding pleasure in murdering children.Tom Storm

    Much to their chagrin, scientists will have to agree that to the brain, the above two pleasures are the same. And if the brain is the measure of all things ...
  • baker
    3.3k
    I think that the essence of an act is determined by what motivates itMichael Zwingli

    Kamma is intention, is sometimes said.

    As I noted above, however, I have become quite misanthropic over a period of years,Michael Zwingli

    Acknowledging that humans are a mixed bag, a mixure of good and bad is not misanthropy, it's realistic. But it is a view that can be quite difficult to live with, without proper contextualization. So people generally tend toward one or the other extreme: ie. they believe that people are "essentially good", or they believe that people are "essentially bad". Early Buddhism offers a way to transcend this duality altogether.
  • baker
    3.3k
    I mean, the horror of the realization that nobody will ever love or value me nearly as much as they do themselves. That in the end, myself, my life, and my hopes don't mean a shit to anybody else...that to them, I am just an object to be used in the achievement of their ends, and am otherwise utterly expendable.Michael Zwingli

    And you feel exactly the same way about other people. So you're even, and you can't cry foul.


    What you say above is actually a view expressed in Early Buddhism:

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. And on that occasion King Pasenadi Kosala had gone with Queen Mallikā to the upper palace. Then he said to her, “Mallikā, is there anyone dearer to you than yourself?”

    “No, great king. There is no one dearer to me than myself. And what about you, great king? Is there anyone dearer to you than yourself?”

    “No, Mallikā. There is no one dearer to me than myself.”

    Then the king, descending from the palace, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Just now, lord, when I had gone with Queen Mallikā to the upper palace, I said to her, ‘Mallikā, is there anyone dearer to you than yourself?’

    “When this was said, she said to me, ‘No, great king. There is no one dearer to me than myself. And what about you, great king? Is there anyone dearer to you than yourself?’

    “When this was said, I said to her, ‘No, Mallikā. There is no one dearer to me than myself.’”

    Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

    Searching all directions
    with your awareness,
    you find no one dearer
    than yourself.

    In the same way, others
    are thickly dear to themselves.

    So you shouldn’t hurt others
    if you love yourself.

    https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/Ud/ud5_1.html


    Note: This is a king asking his wife whom she loves the most. He surely expected that she would say that she loves him, his majesty the most. But no. The Buddha then acknowledges that this is indeed the state of affairs in the world.
  • baker
    3.3k
    You should consider if that might be something like a self-fulfilling prophecy, or self-reinforcing, at any rate.

    I think the problem you're having, if you don't mind me saying, is that you find it impossible to conceive of any motivation beyond self-interest.
    Wayfarer

    Rather, the problem is that he doesn't seem to conceive of a life _with_ that insight in it. It seems a rather common problem.

    Look at people in strife.
    I will tell how
    I experienced
    terror:
    Seeing people floundering
    like fish in small puddles,
    competing with one another—
    as I saw this,
    fear came into me.
    The world was entirely
    without substance.
    All the directions
    were knocked out of line.
    Wanting a haven for myself,
    I saw nothing that wasn’t laid claim to.
    Seeing nothing in the end
    but competition,
    I felt discontent.

    https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/StNp/StNp4_15.html



    This actually speaks of a type of misgivings about Buddhism, and why some people find fault with the Buddha, saying he gave up on humanity too soon and that his outlook was too grim (and why they feel compelled to ascribe to him fancier motivations and views).

    This is where the old spat between Mahayana and Theravada is, again, instructive. Namely, Mahayana accuses Theravada of being "selfish".

    But the crux of the matter is really delusions of grandeur, seeking pleasure in believing oneself to be morally superior (whatever that means in any particular social context).


    Further, "selfishness" is a complex term, confusingly, misleadingly complex (but at the same time, conveniently so). We can conceptualize the same behavior that is considered "selfish" as an expression of greed, lust, hatred, passion. But doing so is not acceptable in our culture. For one, because those terms hail back to our Christian heritage of the capital sins and we feel that is just baggage to get rid of. For two, conceptualizing it in terms of greed, lust, hatred, passion induces us to think what would be an example of not acting out of greed, lust, hatred, passion -- and this is something we are reluctant to do, because we can't see a way to act without greed, lust, hatred, passion. Or else, we resort to ad hoc judgments about what in particular passes for greed, lust, hatred, passion, and what doesn't, and those ad hoc judgments are bound to confuse us. So we use an amorphous term like "selfish" to air our criticism of someone, while at the same time, remain in the comfort of conceptual mist.
  • baker
    3.3k
    I have lost most of the faith that I once had in human decency. These days, even when I meet a person who seems what you might call "nice", I find myself thinking, "yeah, this is just the mask he/she shows to the world".Michael Zwingli

    You do realize the absurd irony of talking about this with people, right?


    Anyway, the way I see it, your problem is a case of simplificationism, the desire to have things categorized in neat boxes, with neat labels, wanting things to be either this or that. It's a common human tendency.

    Early Buddhism goes against that tendency, and this is another misgiving that not just a few people have about Buddhism. Often, Early Buddhism expects one to think in very different categories than one is used to, and that can be alienating. For example, people tend to expect that a religion/spirituality will take a firm stance on human nature (whether humans are "essentially good" or "essentially bad"), but Early Buddhism doesn't hold that the term "human nature" is meaningful to begin with.
  • Present awareness
    108
    The Buddha simply pointed out that attachment to things which are impermanent will lead to suffering once they are gone. If one may simply enjoy the moment as it comes, without attachment, there will be a willingness to let things go, once they are gone.
  • praxis
    4.3k
    If one may simply enjoy the moment as it comes, without attachment, there will be a willingness to let things go, once they are gone.Present awareness

    I like the way you say this, as though it were the simplest thing in the world to do, a piece of cake, or easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  • Present awareness
    108
    squeezypraxis

    I like the way you say this, as though it were the simplest thing in the world to do, a piece of cake, or easy peasy lemon squeezy.praxis

    Easy to say, but like you point out, not so easy to do! The Buddha also realized the difficulty and came up with an eight fold path to help people obtain the right state of mind, but it isn’t easy and human nature, being what it is, is always looking for an easy solution.
  • praxis
    4.3k
    Easy to say, but like you point out, not so easy to do! The Buddha also realized the difficulty and came up with an eight fold path to help people obtain the right state of mind, but it isn’t easy and human nature, being what it is, is always looking for an easy solution.Present awareness

    I like the way you say this too, as though if there were an easy solution, a Buddhist would still do it the hard way. That suggests to me that it’s really not about a solution but rather all about the way.
  • Outlander
    1.4k
    I mean, the horror of the realization that nobody will ever love or value me nearly as much as they do themselves. That in the end, myself, my life, and my hopes don't mean a shit to anybody else...that to them, I am just an object to be used in the achievement of their ends, and am otherwise utterly expendable.Michael Zwingli

    Well, when life gives you lemons you might as well make lemonade. Try and become a bodyguard for a head of state. Believe me, if you happen to be the last one left standing in the way between him and a bullet, you'll be worth more than the lives of potentially billions of people. At least, to the person responsible for the lives of said billions of people who asked him to be. Not a bad switcheroo.
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    Le meglio è l'inimico del bene (The perfect is the enemy of the good) — François-Marie Arouet aka Voltaire

    If you meet the Buddha, kill him. — Linji Yixuan

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend (Arthashastra).

    I'm bad. Does this mean the Buddha is my friend? WTF?! :chin:
  • I like sushi
    3k
    The Buddha simply pointed out that attachment to things which are impermanent will lead to suffering once they are gone. If one may simply enjoy the moment as it comes, without attachment, there will be a willingness to let things go, once they are gone.Present awareness

    And okay with suffering. Life without suffering is a contradiction.

    I mean, the horror of the realization that nobody will ever love or value me nearly as much as they do themselves. That in the end, myself, my life, and my hopes don't mean a shit to anybody else...that to them, I am just an object to be used in the achievement of their ends, and am otherwise utterly expendable.Michael Zwingli

    Hold onto that thought. Nihilism could well be a necessary 'passage of rites' kinda thing. Sadly buddhists often tend to wallow in it like they've discovered something special when they've really just notice the door and forgot to walk through it ... which is also necessary if your doctrine at its heart is about doing away with 'suffering'. Ironic me thinks.
  • baker
    3.3k
    If one may simply enjoy the moment as it comes, without attachment, there will be a willingness to let things go, once they are gone.Present awareness

    Do provide a canonical reference for this.
  • Present awareness
    108
    Do provide a canonical reference for this.baker

    When I was a young man, I studied Buddhism in general and Zen Buddhism in particular. It was long ago, so I’m unable to reference any particular book I’ve read at the time, but I came away with the impression that the Buddha’s insights were simple and yet profound. Whatever has happened in the past, cannot be changed and it makes no difference whether we accept it or resist it. Whatever might happen in the future, has not yet happened, so why worry about imagined outcomes? The only moment we have any power at all, to do anything, is here and now. If one can cultivate the ability to live in the present moment and let things go, it will be a very useful attitude to have, at the moment of our own death.
  • baker
    3.3k
    When I was a young man, I studied Buddhism in general and Zen Buddhism in particular. It was long ago, so I’m unable to reference any particular book I’ve read at the timePresent awareness

    For every "Buddha said" one should have a canonical reference. One wouldn't want to spread as "the word of the Buddha" something for which one doesn't have a reference. One wouldn't want to put words into his mouth. So one relies on a bonafide source for his words.

    , but I came away with the impression that the Buddha’s insights were simple and yet profound. Whatever has happened in the past, cannot be changed and it makes no difference whether we accept it or resist it. Whatever might happen in the future, has not yet happened, so why worry about imagined outcomes? The only moment we have any power at all, to do anything, is here and now.

    Well, that's not so profound, that's pretty much pop psychology. It's also so general it's not specifically Buddhist either.

    If one can cultivate the ability to live in the present moment and let things go, it will be a very useful attitude to have, at the moment of our own death.

    You said earlier:

    If one may simply enjoy the moment as it comes, without attachment, there will be a willingness to let things go, once they are gone.Present awareness

    But in all this, there's one thing you're firmly clinging on to: your desire to enjoy sensual pleasures.
    With this desire firmly in place, death will be horrible. Things will be gone, but your desire for them will be unsatisfied. That's dying thirsty and hungry, cold and desiring warmth, in pain and desiring wellbeing.
  • Present awareness
    108
    For every "Buddha said" one should have a canonical reference. One wouldn't want to spread as "the word of the Buddha" something for which one doesn't have a reference. One wouldn't want to put words into his mouth. So one relies on a bonafide source for his words.baker

    I completely disagree, because no one really know whom said what, thousands of years ago and it doesn’t even matter! What matters most are the ideas and ways of looking at things, regardless if Buddha, Jesus or any other wise man may have said them. If you read something that rings true, regardless of the source, who cares where it comes from? It may not be right, it may not be true, but you and only you, are the final judge on whether it has value!
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    Some might say those who badmouth the Buddha and deny that nirvana is something real & attainable are the ones actually muttering under the breath "those grapes must be sour." Foxes, damn them!
  • baker
    3.3k
    I completely disagree, because no one really know whom said what, thousands of years ago and it doesn’t even matter!Present awareness

    Then why preface your sentences with "the Buddha said" and such?


    What matters most are the ideas and ways of looking at things, regardless if Buddha, Jesus or any other wise man may have said them. If you read something that rings true, regardless of the source, who cares where it comes from? It may not be right, it may not be true, but you and only you, are the final judge on whether it has value!

    So my earlier point about clinging to the desire for pleasure still stands.
    You're not actually letting things go -- things such as romantic relationships, delicious foods, etc. -- you're just using them up one by one, all along relying that there will be an endless supply of them. Sure, you can let go of this piece of cake after eating some of it, but can you give up desiring to eat delicious food altogether?
  • Nothing
    41
    Question "trying hard enough" has the answer. Learn to be quiet and you Will get the true happiness.
  • Present awareness
    108
    Then why preface your sentences with "the Buddha said" and such?baker

    I’m simply giving the Buddha credit for what others have attributed to the Buddha in Buddhist literature.

    Sure, you can let go of this piece of cake after eating some of it, but can you give up desiring to eat delicious food altogether?baker

    No, not me. The desire to give up desire, is also a desire, so it doesn’t work. It’s like trying to wipe off blood, with blood or trying to stop thinking by thinking.
  • baker
    3.3k
    The desire to give up desire, is also a desire, so it doesn’t work. It’s like trying to wipe off blood, with blood or trying to stop thinking by thinking.Present awareness

    Then you need to read more "Buddhist literature". There, what you now claim "doesn't work" is very well worked out as working.
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