I <3 the Beast

Why are parents so proud when their kid likes the same thing they do? Does it reinforce their egotism or does it fool them into thinking their loves are more righteous than those of others? Whenever my dad would catch me reading books as a kid, he’d say periodically that he was proud of me. He’d say that it was good that I was reading books. Okay, but why is reading or writing good? I ask in the ultimate sense. Because aren’t the things in life that we deem to be “good” just those things we happen to love? The things we think are good are the conclusions or experiences that we attach to for ourselves and as ourselves. It’s problematic though, because how much of what we experience and attach to actually has anything to do with free will? How much of it isn’t just emotional or samsaric brainwashing?

Another thing I thought about as a kid (this is turning out to be quite the autobiography!) was how society views its carnal passions and goals. You know, the crazy fact that everyone is not-so-secretly an animal in origin, but we like to think we’re more than animals. Men and women hang out together and act all formal, but then they go home later and behave like animals! Not that people should publicly do this, but every member of humanity is trapped upon the gradient of animal life to some degree. It’s not like the aggression of wall-street investors or business majors are much different from that of wolves and gangsters. They’re just wearing a different mask, playing by society’s rules and formalities, and appear more sophisticated. And maybe they are, since they fool (some of) us!

Surely I am not so base as to advocate that people just embrace their animal instincts, being violent or aggressive or giving into desires whenever they want. That would be kind of dumb because it would make us blind. That’s like, stuffing the eyes and ears and forgetting those senses exist.

And yet everyone does that! Seriously, our society profits off of this kind of thing! Funny how the message to the masses back in the day was, “shut up, do your work, don’t ask questions, don’t desire much” but now it’s “follow your nose to all the power, money and sex you can accumulate!”. The new ideal is stupid because it totally blinds people to everything but their own carnal drives.

At some point, society used to agree that power, money and sex were unwholesome life pursuits, but now that everyone in power loves those things and thinks they’re “good” and wants their kids to pursue them too (they want them to be just like Pops!). Ah, but I guess people have always done that, it’s just that at some points in prosperous nation’s timelines that the masses don’t publicly/openly venerate the concept of striving for power and sex. Uh-oh, now I’m making generalizations I’ve been known to criticize — talking about the existence of some ideal past civilization. Never happened!

Hence I am left to wonder: why do people get so emotionally attached to their animal drives, and why are we so afraid to give them up? The difference between humans and animals is that humans try to reason out some emotional or intellectual virtue (ha!) behind following these drives, and they thus believe they have some modicum of control over them too. But isn’t the only real control — real freedom — not giving into them? And how do we escape this conundrum of imprisonment?

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3 Responses to “I <3 the Beast”

  1. Y’all heard of a dude named Schopenhauer? He had a bit to say on this topic.

    By the way, do you take requests? If so, I’d greatly appreciate it if at some point you explained the relationship of determinism and free will in relation to karma. What little I’ve read regarding karma has turned me off of Buddhism, but I’m eager to know if it has a deeper link to determinism. That would be bitchin’.

  2. wizardsmoke Says:

    I haven’t read Schopenhauer’s own work, but maybe I should since I have it lying around. I’ve mainly come into contact with it through Nietzsche’s criticisms or references. Any works you’d like to point me towards?

    I’d be glad to talk about free-will/determinism in a karmic context. Of course, I’m only able to do these rapid-fire postings because they’re random musings. I might slow ’em down to increase the quality of the articles.

  3. “The World as Will and Representation” is Schopenhauer’s magnum opus, and it’s certainly a good read, but only if you’ve got a thing for giant wads of text and criticism of Kant. His essays, however, are all accessible and worthwhile. The best stuff of Schopenhauer will be pretty similar to Buddhism, or at least Buddhism with a bad attitude. He’s very…morbid, I suppose, so it’s good that you have Nietzche to “overcome” him.

    I don’t think you don’t have to slow down the posts too much. Even if they’re rapid-fire, they still make me envious.

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