Wednesday 10 June 2015

Looking - How to Look 2015

As promised, I am updating the 'How to Look' section of the blog. It has been long overdue an overhaul and finally I am getting round to it. I'm afraid that it is unfinished but I am going to post up the sections on my blog as they are done, and they will be 'stickied' on the how to look tab found at the top of the homepage.
At least then, I hope I can get posting something useful instead of disappearing for 6 months. Once this is completed I will overhaul the thought experiments and then I will be back to posting. This will probably mean that I will have to disappear for 3 months or so of the summer. However, I hope to find time between barbeques and late night drinking sessions to get it finished, and I also hope that it is worthwhile. 

There is an introduction to this piece here but I expect you will likely have already read it.

How to Look

It was customary in the past for me to give guidance on beginning investigation in the wrong form. I was always of the mindset that one needed to drop all their presuppositions and try and start the investigation from scratch. 
The idea being that we accept we are starting from a position of delusion in an investigation, and then we discard all our prior knowledge so that we can start all over again. Then, the task was to build up an accurate picture derived from phenomenological enquiry. 

However, I have come to the view that this was a foolish endeavour.

In hindsight, I was correct that we have to accept that we are starting out from a position where everything is distorted. However, it is not as though we can just abandon our prior knowledge and not let it influence what we are doing right now. We are already deeply embedded within a framework of concepts and a culture that already presupposes we think about things in a certain way.
The notion that people could suspend their beliefs and assumptions temporarily and try and build a new picture independently from the modes in which we think is absurd.

The mind is already conditioned to think in prescribed ways and to try and drop the frame of reference within which we investigate is impossible. Thus, the correct starting position entails that we accept we are starting from a position of delusion and we are going to have to investigate the assumptions that we are all already interwoven, and embedded within.

In summary then, the key is that we are going to have to investigate those assumptions and witness our own dishonesty first hand. Metaphorically speaking, we want to remove the rose tinted spectacles that deceive us.
Our investigation means we are going to have to turn over every stone and look at the logic underpinning of our assertions, and look at our direct experience to discover if our ideas have any traction. 

It is, in part, a case of showing our preconceptions to be uncertain, and then looking at real life to try and see what is really happening.

We need to be challenging our cherished opinions and common sense taken for granted understandings and assumptions. If you are not challenging these ideas then you are merely framing any new ideas within a framework of prior assumptions, which makes one no better than the lowly species of theist.
These people are shining examples of the most wretched kind of dishonesty, which is the inability to even question or challenge their framework of thinking. They simply ignore contradictory facts or try to warp them to fit in with their world view. You will witness, first hand, the way in which you have been subtly doing this all your life.

It must be remarked here that many western folk, who have far greater intellectual faculties than I, also fit this pattern. Dishonesty is not the provenance of the vulgar by any means, as it infects many of the narrative accounts we believe. If you can spot when you are engaging in the kinds of patterns we are going to outline, then that gives you a head start.

It is the endeavour of any fair enquirer to concern themselves with discovering the truth and that entails not listening to any claim, that I or others make, until you have challenged the logic and, most importantly, verified it experientially by looking.

It is certainly not enough just to utilise sound logical reasoning if we are merely using the preconceptions and assumptions we have been burdened with all our lives. The reason you are here is for looking to see what this 'self', you think you are, could possibly be.
Even if this is not your intention, if you follow this process you will undergo a radical deconstruction of what you took for granted as true - this in itself can be quite liberating.

Where to begin

Part of the problem in starting an investigation boiled down to the fact that the concept looking at real life appears to be quite vague. I tried to explain this in the past but found it very difficult. Quite often I would write the word LOOK in forum posts repeatedly, to try and hammer home the fact that one needs to look at real life.
The simple truth is that looking is simply an honest glimpse of real life. This insight of Anatta is simply attained by a laser focus on the question of what does the word 'me' refer to in real life? If you can look honestly for a few seconds that is all it takes for the web of deceit to shatter.

Maxi Jazz (lead singer of Faithless) came out with a good quote in his lyrics:
"You don't need eyes to see, you need vision".
That sums it up quite well really, you need to look with your  vision, as such.
At this point you're probably going to be asking yourself what the hell is this 'vision' and what on earth is he referring to?

Allow me to have a go at trying to explain this to you right now in these posts.

Does that seem a bit clearer now?

No, I thought not! Don't worry though, you are in the same boat as everyone who starts out on this journey. It is very difficult to grasp what we actually mean by looking, however, the best way is just to get stuck in and give it a go.
It seems inordinately strange to look at first, by definition, as we are usually going about the hurly burly of our everyday lives, looking at the world and monitoring our thoughts. 

Surely in this respect we are already looking?

If this was the case then we would have no need to get you to scrutinise your own experience or tell you to Just F**king LOOK. The real problem is that you have never tried to look in your whole life. If you can take an honest look at real life for just a few seconds, that is all you need to do, and you will see through the illusion of self.

We are not talking about some magical looking or esoteric process here either. We are talking about seeing the self for what it is: an illusion. When you are done with the process you will clearly know that 'you' refers to nothing that can be discovered in experience. It is merely a habitual inference that has no correlate in real life.

We start out from a position where we are embedded within cultural practices, social conventions, and ways of doing things. To start from here and then begin mulling over the possibility of your own existence seems tantamount to madness at first. It contradicts your cultural practices and if you were to tell someone else that you don't exist, it is certainly counter intuitive in the strongest sense possible.
Your way of doing things has been learned from experience, and this includes resting your world view on certain preconceptions and assumptions that we were all taught from a young age.

However, your way of doing things has also led you to this moment right here and now. 
You are here because you are sick of making yourself suffer. You are here because the story you have been told doesn't add up. 
You are here because you feel different from all the others, even if you have friends and family around you. 
You are here because others in society lack the vision to see that they are simply following preprogrammed patterns of consumer consumption, and are subject to relentless psychological manipulation by the media and advertisers. You are here because you are a sick of all the vacuous bullsh*t in your daily grind. You are here because your curiosity led you to this place and deep down in your heart, you already know full well it is all a facade.

You are here because you want out.


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