Lounge room musings

To write anything worthwhile was really hard for me this week. To say something other than, 'we're living in crazy times, everything has changed so much and you must adapt'. Not that these things aren't true, cause they are. But I had to do some real thinking to figure out what is the social dialogue at the moment and what is it that we need to be reminded of. I say reminded of because there are only a few principles that have been universally spoken about in pretty much every culture, nation or civilisation throughout human history. These are the same principles that ride you through any crisis, scary moment, connection with others and even our happiest moments in life. What I love about these life principles is that they are all in one with natural rhythms, they are all super intuitive because you don't need to spend much time observing the world around you to see them in play.

Yet, to find these in myself, so that I could share today, I too had to be reminded of them. So I did what I do whenever I need to solve any form of existential angst - I sat in my grandfathers rocking chair and consulted the great philosophers of the past (my bookshelf).

The vibration we're stuck in as a society at the moment one of fear. Quite simply because it resonates more with the media than that of hope. But there is also a danger with simply holding onto this idea of hope, especially if the hope is continually projected into a future experience. This Whac-A-Croc game of hitting fear on the head with a stick of hope is really just preventing us from facing Satre's uncomfortable truth, that life is empty and meaningless.

I like to be more like Kant, believing that it's empty and meaningless that it is empty and meaningless. Kant refused to believe that there is no inherent value in existence. So he decided that the miracle and value in existence is our capability to reason. It is insane to think that in the known cosmos, we are the only sources of ingenuity and creativity. Hence, much like Frankl, the only true meaning in existence is the ability to form meaning itself.

To transcend the transactional realm, that life will be better in the future cause I am smacking my fears on the head with my stick of hope, one must act unconditionally. You must love someone without expecting anything in return; otherwise, it is not true love.

The formula of humanity is merely a principle of life to be enjoyed daily. It doesn't project some future utopia. It doesn't lament some hellish past. Much like the lessons we are learning from COVID-19, no one is better or worse or more righteous than anyone else. All that matters is that conscious will is respected and protected. End of story.

Because Kant understood that when you get into the business of deciding and dictating the future you unleash the destructive potential of not living your life from the present moment. You start worrying about converting people rather than honouring them, playing on their fears to sell so that you can suppress your own fears, destroying evil in others rather than rooting it out in yourself.

Hence, our life principle would dictate that the only logical way to improve the world is through improving ourselves - by growing up and becoming more 'virtuous' as Kant would suggest - by making the simple decision, in each moment, to treat ourselves and others as ends, and never merely as means. Be honest. Don't distract or harm yourself. Don't shirk responsibility or succumb to fear. Love openly and fearlessly. Don't cave to tribal impulses or hopeful deceits. Because there is no heaven or hell in the future. There are only the choices you make in each and every moment, the choice of who you are today.

Don't hope for a better life, be a better life; simply choose to live your better life.

When we pursue a life full of pleasure, consumption and simple satisfaction, we are treating ourselves as a means to our pleasurable ends. Therefore, self-improvement is not the cultivation of greater happiness but rather, a cultivation of greater self-respect. Telling ourselves that we are worthless and shitty is just as wrong as telling others that they are worthless and shitty.

The formula of humanity has a ripple effect (Tikkun as you may have heard me say): your improved ability to be honest with yourself will increase how honest you are with others, and your honesty with others will influence them to be more honest with themselves, which will help them to grow and mature. Therefore, your cleaning up your relationship with yourself has the positive by-product of cleaning up your relationships with others, which then enables them to clean up their relationships with themselves and so on.

This is how you change the world - this is how we at FEAT are going after changing the world - not through some all-encompassing ideology or mass religious conversion or misplaced dreams of the future or paralysing fear of death (or a virus). But by achieving the maturation and dignity of each individual in the present, in the here and now (as my meditation teachers would say). By always looking to be of service, to be more for others and more present, every single day!

FEAT from Home Session