To my fellow pontificator, John of the Catbox:
I do not know if you read Forum 7. But I have read your post about purity of intent and would like to respond.
You begin by saying: "the majority of my fellow humans stumble through life oblivious to facts concerning existence that to me seem so damned obvious." This beginning strikes me as offensive and unfriendly. Hardly the way to win over your reader. Do you really think that everybody is so much more ignorant than yourself? You have yet to prove your superiority to me by your writings in the Catbox so far.
However, you can be forgiven your pomposity if you provide some teaching and revelation from your higher perspective. What you purport to discuss, apparently, is the nature of reality and Truth that is hidden to human beings who are supposedly in denial of such. So what IS the nature of reality and Truth as you have discovered it?
Alas, you do not answer the question. You merely assert that there is such a thing and that to pursue knowledge of it represents a pure intent. Your assertion is possibly true, as many before you have proclaimed. But you do not describe it for us or even tell us vaguely what it might be. You merely outline the qualities and personal characteristics that you deem necessary for this pursuit, namely courage, perseverance, intelligence, and faith.
That is all very good and I am sure that all of us ignornant folks whom you deem in denial are happy to agree with the points that you make, since they are universal and elemental truths about human life. But again, I want to point out to you that you have failed to distinquish yourself from us. What exactly is it that you know that we do not know?
You say: "Some individuals do choose to step outside of the “normal” mindset, and take it upon themselves to see beyond the veil." Ok, great. What is it beyond the veil that you are seeing? Please tell us!
The reason that I am asking this question is that I seriously doubt that you can answer the question any better than I can, or any better than all those people who you criticise as bing of the normal mindset. I personally think, and here state to you, that the normal mindset is not so bad. My philosophy is that peace of mind is to be attained in the here and now of human limitation. It is not a pure intent to attempt to go beyond time and space into the consciousness of Infiity or whatever else you might possibly be talking about. It is, rather, a pure intent, to simply be as I am, happy to accept the facts of my life as they now are, happy to find the love and peace that are open to me within the confines of human limitation.
My philosophy of life may seem to lack courage and faith and all those other qualities you so admire. But if you think so, then I would have to defend myself by saying that yes, it does take all of our good qualities to find our highest potential. But you say we must find our potential behind some veil. I say we don't.
So please tell me something that "people in denial" don't already know. What do you know that I don't know about what lies behind that veil? Convince me, in you can, that my purity of intent should point itself to that beyond. So far you have said virtually nothing about it.
Please be assured my question is not merely academic or argumentative. If there is even the slightest instruction that you can provide, please do so. Because this point is very important, I think. Those who proudly proclaim a superior vantage point should at least describe what they are seeing. You say: "Reality is just beyond the reach of the collective human awareness." Please indicate how your own purity of intent has allowed you to reach above the collective human awareness.
Thank you for whatever consideration you give to my post and for whatever reply you might provide.
I reprint your original post just below:
I have been curious for a long time how so many – no, the majority – of my fellow humans stumble through life oblivious to facts concerning existence that to me seem so damned obvious to me. Thinking about it, I suspect this is a symptom of the coping response we affectionately know as “denial”. If one could trace the genesis of this strange condition, I suspect it might have begun its rise to prominence at a point in mankind’s development when he evolved past the reactive mentality of “see a bear; kill a bear”, to where his technology afforded him the luxury of options. Having options meant he could choose; having choice gave him the notion he could fashion his own destiny. From there it was a short journey to assuming the role of God… but that’s another topic.
Although this “denial” factor could be viewed as being instrumental in facilitating greater and greater human achievement throughout the ages, it can also be viewed as having shielded humankind from life’s more difficult realities, and made us victims to the dictates of existence itself. For example, a fact most would prefer to overlook is that with each passing second, the time left to realize our dreams is reduced by that amount. Added to this is the reality that past a certain age our ability to convert even the time remaining into achievable goals will diminish exponentially due to the erosion of one’s physical and mental capabilities. Today, a collective state of denial distracts us from this basic fact of life, conscripting our efforts and technologies into a battle to stifle the aging process, which of course is an otiose endeavor. Ironically, the net effect of our pursuit for greater happiness is that we expend precious chunks of the one commodity that could bring us true happiness – that is, time – for something that is completely unattainable. When you combine this example with the myriad other ways human beings deny reality, and then aggregate each individual’s denial into a whole, what gets created and perpetuated on a global scale is a veil-like obstruction that effectively keeps reality just beyond the reach of the collective human awareness. And so, here we stand today living in a world where to know reality is beyond what is considered normal.
That said, some individuals do choose to step outside of the “normal” mindset, and take it upon themselves to see beyond the veil. I am interested to know what drives these regrettably few souls to forsake the comforts of denial for a territory less traveled? What differentiates those who cannot blindly support the illusion from those who fall into step perpetuating it, almost without question? And on a deeper level, what drives humanity, and has driven it for millennia, to focus their desire towards the pursuit of Truth.
To begin with, I think it is important to examine the traits that might separate those who seek to know reality from those who choose to deny it. Some of the qualities that undeniably represent virtues that are key to human achievement include courage, perseverance, intelligence, and faith. But these four qualities are not confined to virtuous endeavors – quite to the contrary. There have been many who, possessing these qualities, have used them to wreak havoc on humanity. Each can be thought of as a tool that, depending on the hand that guides it, can be used to achieve both positive and negative results. Certainly, any endeavor of any magnitude calls upon all of these qualities to succeed. Each represents an aspect of strength; strength, which is essential to achieving anything worthwhile. So too, a person wishing to breach the veil of denial must exhibit these same qualities if they are to succeed in their quest. That said, there is another factor even more fundamental to achieving this end. That is, purity of intent. If a propensity to deny makes reality more abstruse, then purity of intent simplifies it, makes it understandable, and makes it relatable to life. But purity of intent alone is but a promise. The journey to penetrate the veil of illusion calls upon all the courage, perseverance, intelligence, and faith one can muster.
Courage. Not enough can be said in praise of courage. The popular lore of every culture waxes glowingly of heroes who exhibited this virtue, to the point where other significant character flaws are overlooked. Certainly, courage is essential if one is to stand alone against the tide, which is indeed what many choosing to brave a denial-bred milieu will no doubt confront. But even deeper and more fundamental, it takes courage to challenge one’s own comfortable belief system, and float in the void for however long it takes for real understanding to rescue them from uncertainty. Rescue does come for those with pure intent, but not without first exercising their courage. On the other hand, courage in the hands of a person in denial drives them to perform acts of bravery, yes, but the legitimacy of their achievements will no doubt be one day called into question.
Perseverance. Perseverance is the wind filling the sail that propels the ship to its destination. It is the quality of persisting until all obstacles are overcome and success is in hand. To know reality, one must not only exercise a commitment to transcend the veil against all odds, but to uphold and protect the standards directed by the purity of their intent. To someone in denial, the fruit of perseverance is little more than a goal attained; a plaque on the wall; a statue on the mantle; a pat on the back. Their ship, they must one day discover, never did leave the harbor, and their journey was nothing more than the incessant pacing from bow to stern of the ship’s lower deck.
Intelligence. Intelligence is the surveyor, the planner, and the executor of the plan. Gaining understanding of the “layout of the land”. Constructing strategies. Plotting a course. Weighing tolerances. Adjusting. Developing contingencies. In the development and execution of a course of action, a degree of intelligence is essential to doing the right thing at the right time. To expect success without intelligence is to bank on sheer luck to carry the day. And as anyone who plays the lottery and dreams of riches knows, this can be a very long wait indeed. Intelligence in the hands of someone with pure intent becomes a finely honed tool that delivers clarity of vision and a depth of understanding. In the hands of an individual in denial, it is an instrument of complexity, driving them deeper into confusion, turning the veil into an impenetrable wall.
Faith. Faith is the ocean upon which an endeavor is buoyed and supported. Without it, the ambition to achieve sinks and drowns in an abyss of doubt. Although a goal may be eminently achievable, it comes to naught unless a person’s faith is strong enough to support it. Whether it is finding a job, winning a race, or painting the Sistine Chapel, success demands that one invest their faith in something that carries their goal to fruition. Faith must be directed towards the goal itself and also towards one’s ability to achieve it. The correlation between purity of intent and the strength of one’s faith is clear: the purer the intent, the more dependable and therefore stronger the faith. For those whose goal is to know reality, faith is put to the test every moment of every day. Those whose faith is weak inherently know the limits to where it can take them, and so they do not venture too far into untested waters. Of course, a state of denial prevents them from recognizing the extent to which they compromise their goals. But their denial allows them to keep an acceptable equilibrium, until one day they must account for the opportunities in life that passed them by.
In conclusion, although we often impulsively judge human achievement by qualities such as courage, perseverance, intelligence, and faith, it is the purity of one’s intent that ultimately determines the measure of an endeavor’s worth. For without purity of intent, these qualities turn against the individual by strengthening the force that keeps them ignorant. And ignorance has always been the root of suffering and confusion in the world, and more importantly in our own lives.