Me: Who am I?
Me: Who wants to know?
Me: I do.
Me: Who am I?
Me: Ok, this cycle is fake. I think, therefore I am, so the existence of I is not in question, the nature and description of I is in question.
Me: Ok, what is the nature and description of I?
Me: Umm, how do I tell you?
Me: With words of course, how else?
Me: Words? What do words mean to you?
Me: Words mean what they are meant to mean.
Me: Who told you what they are meant to mean?
Me: Life did. Experiences and all that. Plus, I agreed to agree with the meaning of words so I could talk to other folks, you know!
Me: I see. So the best description of yourself that you can come up with, is one based on “ideas based on your experiences (in other words, words)”?
Me: It appears so.
Me: In that case, you are what you do.
Me: I’d rather say I am what I think I am.
Me: But you can only think within the framework of ideas that were based on your actions with respect to your universe, can’t you?
Me: I suppose so. I can’t imagine the unimaginable. I am a sentient being, given ways to interact with and interpret the universe and that is all that I am.
Me: Hmm, so aren’t you just a glorified animal?
Me: Yes, a questioning animal, I certainly am. Is this question tending to mu.
Me: Why mu? Don’t you think “unasking” this question is escapist?
Me: No. I am not running away from the question, just attempting to understand it better. Perhaps I will re-ask it later and better and close the door on mu.
Me: Ok, understand it better, then.
Me: I will procrastinate. Right now, the animal is hungry and must be fed.
Me: Dang it, you’re right! Just feed the animal. Feeding us is going to take forever anyway and our hunger will probably never be quenched.
So, what is honesty after all.
A promise to be true to oneself?
Or, to be truthful with others?
What is being true to oneself, after all.
Ensuring that your mental model of reality is a good one? Ensuring that you have not told yourself a different story than the one you perceived? Ensuring that your sensory inputs are stronger than your imagination? Ensuring that your memory of your sensory inputs is stronger than your imagination and your utopian memory?
What is being truthful with others, after all.
Being true to oneself, and,
Ensuring that you “communicate” your mental model of reality?
Is being truthful with others implicitly tied to your ability to communicate (Ashwatthama is dead)? Isn’t language a contract? Doesn’t the contract assume honesty thus making the definition circular?
As a corollary, can a deaf, mute and blind man be honest? Does a deaf, mute and blind man think about dishonesty and honesty?! What mental model of the world does he have? Will we ever know?
I read this on unawoken’s blog and felt “tempted” to respond with a post.
You can read about Mara here.
For the purpose of discussion, I assume Mara is temptation.
I use the word temptation for it has negative connotations as does Mara. Temptation is associated with sin. Temptation is associated with a weak character, with weakness.
There is a perfectly good anti-theory to the Buddhist way. Temptation is the means to happiness. Strive to achieve what you want, to get what you lust after and you shall reach Nirvana. Treat your mind and body as your temples. Offer them what they want and they shall give you ample happiness in return. Recognize that we are animals. Bow to the animal instincts and satisfy them.
Why does salvation become tastier when achieved through hardship? Why does Nirvana have to come after remaining celibate and fasting for many years? All organized religions advocate moderation. Clearly there is benefit to society from moderation. It works for the greater good. But the anti-theory wouldn’t care for the greater good.
There is clearly benefit in not stressing over what you can’t get. There is clearly benefit in accepting your limitations and working within them. But what are the benefits of depriving yourself of a tasty morsel when it presents itself? Would you rather be Zorba or Buddha?
I had an enlightening conversation with skm today. He was talking about the Vedas and the abstractness of the philosophy contained in them! It is very very interesting. I think I will make a serious effort to relearn Sanskrit and read some verses everyday.
One of the most profound pieces of writing that I came across thanks to the conversation is the Naasadiya Suktam. Found in the RigVeda, it talks about the beginning of existence. The origin of the cosmos. Only the first verse is here. The rest of the suktam and a good commentary can be found at this page.
nAsadeeya sUktam RigvEda 10.129
Nasadaseenno sadasit tadanim. Na sidrajo no vyoma paro yat.
Kimaavareevaha kuhakasya sharmann. Ambhaha kimasit gahanam gabhiram.
There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness; of night or day there was not any sign. The One breathed without breath by its own impulse. Other than that was nothing else at all.
Note: English translation by Prof. Raimundo Panikkar