Sunday, December 07, 2008

Human dysfunction

Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
by Eckhart Tolle

If we look more deeply into humanity's ancient religions and spiritual traditions, we will find that underneath the many surface differences there are two core insights that most of them agree on. The words they use to describe those insights differs, yet they all point to a twofold fundamental truth. The first part of this truth is the realization that the normal state of human mind contains a strong element of what we might call dysfuction or even madness.

The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived enemies - his own unconscious projected outward.

Fear, greed and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, religions and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships. These psychological forces brings about a distortion in oheir perception of other people and themselves. Through these forces, they misinterpret every situation, leading to misguided action designed to rid themselves of fear and satisfy their need for more, a bottomless hole that can never be filled.

The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness. To recognize these human insanities is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence which would give rise to a new dimension of consciousness.

Over the centuries, many things were added that had nothing to do with the reflection of the fundamental misunderstanding. Teachings that pointed the way beyond the dysfunction of the human, the way out of collective insanity, were distorted and became themselves part of the insanity. And so, religion, to a large extent, became divisive, rather than, unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending to violence and hatred through realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brough about more hatred and violence, more divisiveness between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion. They became ideologies, belief systems where people identify with and use them to enhance false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves "right" and others "wrong" and thus define their identity through their enemies, and saw themselves justified in hurting and harming the others. These men thus made God in their own image and reduced the divine to a mental idol worship as "my god" or "our god". And yet ... and yet ... in spite of all the insane deeds perpetrated in the name of religion, the Truth to which they point still shines at their core. It still shines, however dimly, through layers upon layers of distortion and misinterpretaion.

Humanity is thus faced with a stark choice: Evolve or perish!

A new humanity - the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness and a "new earth" is the reflection in the physical realm.


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Selamat Hari Raya Idil Adha

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7 comments:

Jefus said...

For those of us who like to put consciousness to the fore, and who take pride in rationality over mere emotion or prejudice, this slim little volume provides something of a challenge. There's no denying that it's entertaining, and it's written in an engaging and none too serious style, but it packs a punch all the same.

In six short chapters Cordelia Fine picks apart at the mighty edifice of the rational brain and, quoting extensively from the research literature, reveals a vain, egotistical, devious, untruthful and bigoted organ. The picture of the mind that emerges has more in common with an unscrupulous populist politician than a fair minded seeker of truth. I'd find this incredibly depressing, but of course having read the book my mind is apt to put aside what it has just learned and is happier to offer me the comforting illusions of reason. Oh well, it's not my fault, for according to the research the mind plays this sort of trick more often than not.

Fine writes with a light touch, there's a gentle humour and a peppering of homely anecdotes throughout the book. But the research she draws on is serious enough, and for those who need convincing there are plenty of notes and references to follow up.

By the end of the book one could be forgiven for thinking that we are mere dupes of the brain - that consciousness itself is an illusion and that what we think of as reasoning is usually a post-hoc rationalisation of some far deeper process. However, if that is the case then how is it that we can read a book cover to cover? How is that anyone could write a book in the first place? Intention and concentration together are evidence of some process that we can label consciousness. Even if we're still not sure of what's going on deep under the surface, there's still something there.

So, despite the lying, the scheming, the clinging on to prejudices and the other vices that our brains are prone to - and which this book does much to shed light on - we shouldn't give up hope that conscious reason itself is a complete illusion.
cut from a book review,.....

Keywords: Psychology, consciousness, popular science

Title: A Mind Of Its Own

Author: Cordelia Fine

Publisher: Icon Books/WW Norton

ISBN: 1840466782/0393062139

June.W said...

Fear, in the world we are living, unlikely and should not be existed. But, I would agreed that it is greed and desire for power are the main motivating forces. And 'religion' has been just a convenient reason for these people to start whatsoever they are fighting for and to blind the eyes of the followers.

Maverick SM said...

Jefus,

Thanks for the intro to the book. I will get one.

June.W,

Unfortunately, the three elements are bonded and existed as core.

engkaulah said...

Life in our society is a paradox. Education itself is a paradox. Our minds are conditioned by the social norms of our family and society. We are conditioned to conform and are frowned upon if we do not. Education also sets paradigms and conditions our mindset. Many of such influences are well-intentioned but may not achieve the results they are meant to. Instead they cause a condition that we can only term as human dysfunction.

Maverick SM said...

engkaulah,

Life isn't a paradox; life is a choice of conditioning ourselves and making it worthwhile and meaningful.

engkaulah said...

When you are young, the most important choices in life are made for you. You are born into a society and conditioned thus. Parameters of expected behaviour are reinforced strongly into your mind until you accept them without question. Sometimes the law determines your religion. Your minsets and paradigms are conditioned by your life experiences which are in turn determined by so many forces in your society.

sinkeh said...

And what is meant by a life being meaningful, when an experience is meaningful to one and perhaps not to another?