Mechanism

A man ever considered with purely earthly respects, appears to be reaching peaks of moral and physical perfection. His skills coalesce delightfully to lead him to that goal. His senses more perfect than in lower species, his memory so amazing, that presents him with various objects, not allowing to be mixed up, his ability to judge, allowing to classify them and compare, his mind, every day discovering new relations between the two, everything works, leading him toward new discoveries, and strengthening his dominance.

Meanwhile, among his conquests and victories, neither the enthralled world, nor established social organizations, nor announced laws, nor fulfilled needs, nor multiplied pleasures are enough for his soul. A desire continues to grow in him that demands something else. He examined, penetrated, tamed and adorned his earthly refuge, but his eyes look for another realm. He became the master of visible and finite nature, but desires the nature invisible and without borders. He took care of things which, the more complex and artificial they are, of the higher caliber they seem. He learned and counted everything, but feels discouraged that he only deals with interests and calculations.

Some inner voice shouts inside of him and tells him that all these things are just a mechanism, more or less brilliant, more or less perfect, but inadequate to be a finale or a limitation of his existence, and that what he took as the goal, was only a number of means.

Benjamin Constant – On religion

Tat Tvam Asi

In studying the Perennial Philosophy we can begin either at the bottom, with practice and morality; or at the top, with a consideration of metaphysical truths; or, finally, in the middle, at the focal point where mind and matter, action and thought have their meeting place in human psychology.

The lower gate is that preferred by strictly practical teachers men who, like Gautama Buddha, have no use for speculation and whose primary concern is to put out in men’s hearts the hideous fires of greed, resentment and infatuation. Through the upper gate go those whose vocation it is to think and speculate the born philosophers and theologians. The middle gate gives entrance to the exponents of what has been called “spiritual religion” the devout contemplatives of India, the Sufis of Islam, the Catholic mystics of the later Middle Ages…

Based upon the direct experience of those who have fulfilled the necessary conditions of such knowledge, this teaching is expressed most succinctly in the Sanskrit formula, tat tvam asi (‘That art thou’); the Atman, or immanent eternal Self, is one with Brahman, the Absolute Principle of all existence; and the last end of every human being is to discover the fact for himself, to find out Who he really is.

Aldous Huxley – The Perennial Philosophy

Unnum

I have read many writings both of heathen philosophers and inspired prophets, ancient and modern, and have sought earnestly to discover what is the best and highest quality whereby man may approach most nearly to union with God, and whereby he may most resemble the ideal of himself which existed in God, before God created men.

And after having thoroughly searched these writings as far as my reason may penetrate, I find no higher quality than sanctification or separation from all creatures. Therefore said our Lord to Martha, “One thing is necessary,” as if to say, “whoso wishes to be untroubled and content, must have one thing, that is sanctification.”

Meister Eckhart – Sanctification


Luke 10,38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.

The Year of the Monkey

If it is something which is not in any relation to all things known, such existence can not be established by any reasoning. How do we know that something, which is not associated with other things, exists at all? The whole universe, such as we know it, is a system of relationships; we do not know anything that could not be related. How can that, which is not dependent on anything and not related to anything, form items related to each other and dependent on each other in its existence?

Is either unity or multiplicity. If there is one, how it can cause a variety of things that come from different causes? If they are as many as there are things, how can the latter be related to each other? If it permeates everything and fills the entire space, it can not create them, because there would be nothing to be created.

If deprived of all properties; all the things that arise, should also be free of all properties. So it can not be their cause. If it is different from the properties, how it still creates things having these properties and manifests itself in them?

If it is invariable, all this should also be invariable, as a result can not vary in its nature with the cause. But all the things of the world are subject to changes and decomposition. How, how can it therefore be invariable?

If created the world, there would be no changes or destruction, there should also be no sorrow or unhappiness, right and wrong, given that anything both pure and impure, would have to come from somewhere. If sadness and joy, love and hatred arise in all sentient beings, then he should be able to feel sadness and joy, love and hate, and if it has this ability, how can we say that it is perfect?

If it was the creator, and all beings would have to be its silent followers, how would it be useful to practice virtue? If all deeds are its formation, they must be the same as their perpetrator’s. But if grief and suffering is attributed to another cause, in that case there is something that it is not the cause of. Why, then, would not be without a cause all that there is?

If there is the creator, it works with some purpose or no purpose. If it works with some purpose, you can not say that it is perfect, because the purpose necessarily implies satisfying a want. If it works without the purpose, it is similar to a madman or an infant.

Aśvaghoṣa – Buddhacarita

Metaphysics and Religion

If man has ever emerged from the whole of nature (that belongs to his essence, is an act of becoming man) and made it his “subject”, he must somehow turn himself backwards with trembling and ask, “So where do I stand myself? What is my place then?” Indeed, he no longer can say: “I am a part of the world, I am surrounded by it”, because the active being of spirit and human person surpasses the forms of existence of this “world” in time and space.

So, in turning, he looks somehow into nothingness; in this view he discovers the possibility of “absolute nothingness” and that prompts him to question further: “Why is there any world at all? why and how do «I» exist?” Having discovered the randomness of the world, man could behave in two ways:

  1. He could become amazed at it and activate his cognizant spirit to capture the absolute, and become part of it – this is a beginning of every metaphysics; in history has not it appeared until very late and only among very few people.
  2. But he could also, caused by unsurmountable desire to save – not only his individual being, but above all, his entire group – based upon and with huge surplus of fantasy, which, unlike animals, exists in man from the very beginning, populate that sphere of existence with any characters, and through worship and ritual shelter himself under the cover of their power, to get from “behind” some little care and assistance; because in the basic act of alienation from nature and objectification of her – while developing his own being and self-awareness – he seemed to be sinking into pure nothingness. Overcoming of nihilism in the form of such rescue, such support, we call religion. In our philosophical reflections on the relationship of man to the highest principles we must reject all similar ideas.

For us, the basic relationship between man and the Ground of Being consists in the fact that in man – who as such, both as a spiritual and alive being, is only a partial center of the spirit and momentum of “what is real by itself” – I say: in man this Ground is directly comprehended and realized.

The old thought of Spinoza and Hegel and many others is: primary existence becomes self-aware in man himself in the same act in which man sees himself rooted in it. The place of this self-realization, we say: of this self-deification, which is sought by ‘being by himself’ and because of which becoming he accepted the world as “history” – is the man, the human self and the human heart. They are the only place of becoming God that is available to us.

You could tell me, and I was actually told, that man cannot stand unready, becoming God. My response to that is that metaphysics is not an insurance company for the weak people, requiring support. The absolute being does not exist to support man, to complement his ordinary weaknesses and needs.

Max Scheler – The Human Place in the Cosmos