Sunday, August 11, 2013

Buddha and the end of suffering...

The Buddha was committed to ending suffering. What if suffering is what makes us human? What if suffering is the consequence of imagining the world different than it is? What if my belief that I can make choices that will change my world causes me to suffer because I am a social animal and often take responsibility for things I cannot control?

Is the premise of ending suffering also an illusion? Isn't a belief that is based on Siddhartha's life experience an attachment to his perspective? Does his desire to share this perspective with others lead to his own suffering?

One, Two, Many, All

The one versus a one.
The two versus a two.
The many versus a many.
The all versus an all.

"The one" versus "a one"...
This is a way of looking at the bias that results from my own perception. Given an event, I take my reaction (perspective of "the one") and compare it with my expectation of the reaction by another person (perspective of "a one").

For example:

Event: Someone I love tells me she does not love me.
The one: I feel hurt. I feel inadequate. I feel rejected. I feel exposed and vulnerable.
A one: He feels hurt. He feels inadequate. He feels rejected. He feels exposed and vulnerable.

"The couple" versus "a couple"...
Harder for me to understand, this is a way of looking at the bias that results from a couple's own perception. A couple might be two friends, two lovers, two people committed to each other, a married couple, etc. Given an event, we take our reaction (perspective of "the two") and compare it with our expectation of the reaction by another couple (perspective of "a two").

Event: I do not trust my partner with the truth about our relationship.
The couple: We don't talk about certain subjects. We feel less intimate because we are withholding thoughts. We avoid asking how we feel about topics that are withheld.
A couple: The don't talk about certain subjects. They feel less intimate because they are withholding thoughts. They avoid asking how they feel about topics that are withheld.

"The many" versus "a many"...
Somehow easier for me to understand, this is a way of looking at the bias that results from a collective's perception. The collective could be a family, a community, a culture, etc. Given an event, we take our collective's reaction (perspective of "the many") and compare it with our expectation of the reaction by another collective (perspective of "a many").

For example:

Event: Members from my collective are killed by members of another collective.
The many: We are outraged. We demand revenge. We band together out of fear. We feel the collective is threatened.
A many: They are angry. They are misunderstanding. They are threatened. They are motivated to extract revenge. They want acknowledgment. They want recompense.

"The all" versus "an all"...
At the limit, there is no difference between the perspective of "the all" (everyone) and "an all" (everyone). At this level of awareness, everybody perceives everything the same way. Conflicts may still occur comparing events between what is with what might be.

Event: We are changing our planet.
The all: We don't think this is a problem.
An all: Who speaks for the unborn?

Note: The expanding perspective from "the one" to "a one" to "the couple" to "a couple" to "the many" to "a many" to "the all" to "an all" illustrates the declining role of individual emotion and the increasing role of everyone's emotion. As the number of participants increases, emotion moves towards a blended emotion (some sort of average?).

This poses the question of what is so valuable about individual perspectives that we have evolved with strong biases based on individual emotional response? One explanation would be that the successful strategy of human diversity as a mechanism to protect us from extinction from unanticipated events has tended to encourage some level of different perception in individuals, couples, and collectives.

Is it possible that our emotional reaction to events is the mechanism that amplifies our unique perspective, exaggerating our individual perceptual bias, thereby perpetuating the successful strategy of diversity?

Emotions are a process...

What are emotions? Why do we have them? Why do we share them?

What value is there for me to have emotions? To share emotions?

What value is there to others from me sharing my emotions?

What value is there to the human species to have emotion? To share emotion?

Are emotions a relic of the past, or are they the key to the future?

What would the world be like if no one shared emotions? If no one had emotions?

Emotions are a process that protects and builds the bias of the perspective of an individual.

Emotions for and by self, another, and others

There are internal emotions for self-monitoring (from-myself-to-myself emotions).

There are external emotions for monitoring by another (from-myself-to-another-self emotions).

There are external emotions for monitoring by others (from-myself-to-other-selves emotions).

Are there external emotions that are other selves monitoring myself, another self, other selves?

Are there internal emotions that are "all selves" monitoring "all selves"?

Perhaps the word "monitoring" is best reserved for reactive emotions. What word would describe pro-active emotions? Pro-active emotions are those that require forethought and are expressions of anticipated reactions.

The expression of internal emotions, and the recognition by another of the expressed internal emotion, was the start of inter-selves communication.
Note: There are also disciplined emotions, emotions altered by consideration, whether over time (motivated by an anticipated future) or over space (motivated by a consideration of more than myself).