• Dymora
    31
    Does the obsession's with the acquisition of material things inhibit enlightenment? Enlightenment, here, meaning the journey of discovery of ones self?

  • Outlander
    761
    the obsessionDymora

    Any obsession inhibits much more than enlightenment I'm sure.

    As far as material goods in general, more than likely. Why do anything more than you have to if you don't need to, right? That's how the mind works. Always looking for shortcuts or rather more efficient ways to do things. That's how inventions occur.

    Enlightenment, at least in my understanding, generally has a bit of a spiritual/metaphysical context to it. Perhaps not always. Devoid of these things 'the self' is little more than flesh, which most religion states will pass away or is otherwise temporary.

    Enlightenment to some can be as simple as a higher state of knowledge or understanding, like what occurs naturally through adolescence. Some however see it as a bit more...
  • khaled
    1.6k
    Your explanation of what you mean by enlightenment doesn't explain much.
  • The Opposite
    651
    seeking enlightenment inhibits enlightenment
  • Hippyhead
    899
    seeking enlightenment inhibits enlightenmentThe Opposite

    Oh darn, I wanted to say that!
  • Jack CumminsAccepted Answer
    461

    Many of the great thinkers stressed the importance of seeking beyond the material world for enlightenment, or the quest for higher truth and happiness. But, even, Buddhism stressed the importance of the middle way, rather than the extreme and the whole emphasis was on non attachment. It is possible to have few possessions but be as attached to these as a person who has more.

    We also have the whole problem of how the Christian church, especially under Calvinism, preached on how people should avoid acquiring wealth in order to suppress people into a life of poverty. Keep the poor as poor, while the Church acquired wealth.

    In terms of searching for enlightenment how much do we need? We need enough for education. We need to read, books or on devices. How much material comfort do we need? We can ask whether the philosophers of today would be best thinking out in a life in the wilderness or in a flat, surrounded by shelves full of books, a computer and a bed to sleep in at night?
  • unenlightened
    5.3k
    You might find that no journey is necessary to discover oneself; rather, it is in a fruitless effort to escape themselves that folk rush about.
  • Dymora
    31
    It seems as though you may be skeptical that enlightenment can actually occur. I understand it is a personal choice what to or not to believe in. I happen to believe it IS achievable. I use the stages of consciousness I've been through to indicate a continuation of the trend toward an apex; my definition of Enlightenment. I certainly don't believe it is a fruitless effort. Quite the opposite. I think it is fun, educational, rewarding, and gets you away from the washing machine for a while.
  • Dymora
    31
    I am a technology buff and do love my toys; for fun and practical applications. You gave two really good examples of peoples keeping possessions, and I'm all for that. I guess what I am talking about is opulence, the desire for the latest (not necessarily the greatest). I do not condone going back to the Dark Ages technologically speaking. We have brains that can think this stuff up. We can manufacture it pretty cheaply. A lot of technology has actually changed the way societies operate (good or bad).
    I think that it is the obsession with opulence that is the inhibitor. I truly believe in an enlightened state, I achieved a great elevation; if not enlightenment; recently. I felt like I came out of a sleep, with fresh outlooks on almost everything. Very Positive. Very serine. Very focused, Very loving, Very peaceful even under adversity. I want it to continue and I want more; which makes me think I haven't achieved true enlightenment yet. Wish everyone could get here
  • Dymora
    31
    I don't quite get the meaning in your statement "That's how the mind works. Always looking for shortcuts or rather more efficient ways to do things. That's how inventions occur."
    I see a distinction between life with and without a "soul"; a term I use synonymously with "self". In my definition "soul" has no religious connotations at all. Just a term for mutual understanding. I think whatever conditions are needed for a trigger to higher thinking is totally dependent on the individual and their comfort level. I've been in a "Zone" while in the wilderness, on a train, etc. I think it is the state of mind that dictates higher thinking rather than the environment. Good points, though. Thank you for your side.
  • Outlander
    761
    In my definition "soul" has no religious connotations at all. Just a term for mutual understanding.Dymora

    You're a unique one I'll give you that. So, by your definition, pack animals have "souls"? Why not bacteria or even circuits in a computer then?
  • unenlightened
    5.3k
    It seems as though you may be skeptical that enlightenment can actually occur.Dymora

    I understand it is a personal choice what to or not to believe in, but in this case, appearances are deceptive. I wonder if you would be interested in my last thread comparing Christian Mysticism with Zen and other Eastern Traditions and with some consideration of J Krishnamurti? In discussions like this, I think it is preferable to consider third party material rather than give the impression of having any authority oneself in the matter.
  • Dymora
    31
    I stand by my definition of soul to put a name to an abstract idea. By my definition of "soul" I am implying self awareness, intelligence, and the inner need to further one's self. This would eliminate lower life forms. I sense a tone of sarcasm in your reply that I could really do without right now. Thanks for your input, however.
  • Dymora
    31
    Any impression of my "authority" is strictly from your end, my friend. I am simply stating what I believe. If you don't feel you believe it, that is certainly your prerogative. But you will be faced with the hard fact that I do believe it. If you knew me, you would know I am a man of great integrity.... and not afraid to use it. I am interested in your previous impressions and shall preen them for thought stimulation at my earliest convenience. That's what we are all here for, Right? Not the truth, but the thought process that may get us there. No?
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    Self-discovery assumes there's a self and that there's something to be discovered about the self and, most importantly, that it's something one would want to discover. I have no idea about the first two assumptions but, in my own case, the third assumption turns out to be false. Let's face it, we're all just one bad day away from becoming something we, ourselves, wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. I guess it all depends on the weather. Bright sun, blue skies and everyone's a bundle of joy. Dark ominous clouds, torrential rain, giant, violent waves and it's you or me, us or them, you know how this ends.
  • god must be atheist
    2.4k
    seeking enlightenment inhibits enlightenmentThe Opposite

    This gets my vote. :100:
  • Tzeentch
    841
    Self-discovery assumes there's a self and that there's something to be discovered about the self and, most importantly, that it's something one would want to discover. I have no idea about the first two assumptions but, in my own case, the third assumption turns out to be false. Let's face it, we're all just one bad day away from becoming something we, ourselves, wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.TheMadFool

    Assuming one finds a monster to be dwelling in their sub-/unconscious, wouldn't one want to understand how it works and what it is doing there?

    I'd say an obsession with the acquisition of material things can be an inhibitor of enlightenment, but it is indicative of a deeper condition, namely the obsession with material existence; the latter being the real issue.

    It ties in nicely with 's comment. How are the "monster" that TheMadFool describes and material existence connected?
  • Dymora
    31
    I think that finding a "monster" and being able to confront it is part of the process. Understanding has a cleansing property in most cases... knowledge is power. The deeper one understands virtually any subject, the more an individual can influence the subject. It allows both internal and external modification, I feel. You cannot modify with direction without understanding. "Become the Authority" --- DYMORA. No?
  • Dymora
    31
    I am simply going off Pavlov's hierarchy of needs here. Seek and ye shall find stuff. The simple act of seeking inhibit nothing. Seeking items or ideas that run counter to the "Good" are self regulating to the negative, the opposite is true for seeking in the direction of the "Good". Folding Yoda, The Force, Zen, and others into the mix sends me in the direction to seek enlightenment. "The views expressed by this station are not the views of the corporate structure and should be construed as individual opinion" - CBS
  • Dymora
    31
    Hey Jack. Very insightful! Thank you. I would expand on some of your thoughts. I think that, in alliance with Pavlov, that once acquired a need is taken as part of the individual. It becomes familiar and a "tool". Without this need, new needs are inspired and subsequently sought after. The need for enlightenment seems to come after all other physical needs are met. The need for higher enlightenment, I feel, is a never ending journey that may in fact culminate in a pure mental state of bliss. That is if a culmination is possible. Waddya Think?
  • Dymora
    31
    I do know intimately your give scenario. Personally, my position prior to 25 August this year. Overweight, lethargic, depressed, partners mothers death and her subsequent depression in partner, my retirement after 48 years insightful work, my fathers death, Colorado wild fire taking our cabin, hurricanes threatening our winter home, leaving my past 22 year life behind to the unknown, having my children (32 and 34) reject me as a parent, eventual breakup of a good 6 year Long Term. I been through stuff. This all was given a total shift in priority and attention after an Epiphany changed my life. All these things were, or continue to be dealt with, positively. In many case resolved Positively. I think it is the attitude of the individual that determines his/her outcome. You can become that monster in the ally if you allow that facet of your personality to guide. If, through the acquisition of insight to your inner most self, you are able to locate and identify the various persona within ourselves, you have a beeter chance of find who you really FEEL you are. Jus' Sayin'. Waddya Think?
  • Dymora
    31
    Could you say you were obsessed to say that? Jus' Sayin'
  • Jack Cummins
    461
    I think you were trying to reply to God Must Be Atheist because he was writing about Pavlov, not me. I think you must both be talking about Maslow though, not Pavlov as I am not aware of Pavlov talking about a hierarchy of needs at all. Pavlov was more interested in classical conditioning.

    I am interested in Maslow's theory though and wrote about it in the thread about human nature, so perhaps you read that. I think simply achieving all the lower needs will not necessarily result in the highest goal of self actualization or enlightenment. But probably the cravings of an unmet need can be a deterrent. But perhaps it is when we can go beyond the satisfactions of our lower needs that we can begin to search for something else and that can be a starting point for the journey.
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    Assuming one finds a monster to be dwelling in their sub-/unconscious, wouldn't one want to understand how it works and what it is doing there?Tzeentch

    That means you don't understand what a monster means. :chin:
  • Dymora
    31
    You are absolutely right... Maslow not Pavlov. Caulk it up to a very basic Culinary college "get me by" psychology course that didn't stick too well.

    Achievement of a goal doesn't mean you jump to the next level or desire to. You may be quite comfortable with your achieved goal and desire nothing more, boarding on complacency which could last the lifetime; in your mind, comfortably. If your new acquired goal becomes familiar enough, I think a natural progression would be to desire higher needs as you are exposed to the fruits of your previous achievement. I feel some form of enlightenment happens when you achieve a strata goal or need. This seems to allow searching or desiring a higher level goal or need. When ya run outta things to get, you either get more of the same or look fer sumptin else. Nice chatting with you.
  • god must be atheist
    2.4k
    I am simply going off Pavlov's hierarchy of needs here. Seek and ye shall find stuff.Dymora

    Seeking and finding is different from experiencing and developing. Inner search?

    Enlightenment has a specific meaning: to have a great revelation to a truth one hasn't seen before.

    If you keep seeking the great revelation in the sense of a search, that is, looking for it, you won't find it.

    Enlightenment comes from within, and in my life it always came as unexpected insight. It is always a fun experience.

    When I say this, I don't believe there is one ultimate and all-encompassing enlightenment. Enlightenment comes and sometiimes even contradicts earlier versions of its own self.

    So to seek englightenment I believe one has to ponder the quesions in life that he is interested in, and keep an eye open in the real world to see hints that may help him establish a truthful analysis of his earched topic.

    Seeking enlightenment as in actually going around the house and lookng under the raffia bases and on top of the fridge are actual waste of time.
  • praxis
    2.9k
    Does the obsession's with the acquisition of material things inhibit enlightenment? Enlightenment, here, meaning the journey of discovery of ones self?Dymora

    I think it might be helpful to elaborate on exactly what is meant by enlightenment. There are roughly two meanings (Western and Eastern), as I see it, both dealing with self and neither necessarily inhibited by the pursuit of material well-being. The eye of a needle is a very small space and may be indicative of a too narrow perspective.

    The Western conception is essentially about self-actualization, which could be seen as being liberated from our societal pavlovian conditioning. We can choose for ourselves what to drool over.

    The Eastern conception is essentially about realizing our true nature, which is simply experiencing the emptiness of our nature. There are many methods to achieve this state, or it can occur spontaneously. Whatever the case, the primary benefits are mental depatterning and relief from existential anxiety.
  • Outlander
    761
    I sense a tone of sarcasm in your reply that I could really do without right now.Dymora

    It wasn't intentional. I do view such ideas as "silly" however it's a very real debate to many, the idea or question rather of what truly defines "consciousness" and whether or not it specifically has to be organic. Again, I find the notion a little ridiculous but if you browse around here some you'll find plenty of decent arguments both for and against. I was just curious is all. Trying to make you and others re-examine held beliefs, specifically the reasoning behind them and relevant definitions. That's just what we do around here, I think. Myself, at least. :grin:
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