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Our Human Nature Page 85 of  161

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  • A JOURNEY TO NIRVANA


  • There probably is no more important subject for humans than understanding the values that we adopt, even though very little effort is made to understand their origins and significances. Presumably it is assumed that we know all that we need to know since we assume that the value of something is self-evident. With the possible exception of God having created values, it is safe to assume that all of our other values were created by humans, as it is impossible to understand how “non-God” values could have existed in a Universe devoid of humans.


  • Thus it is safe to say that nothing in the Universe has any intrinsic “non-God” value, the only type of value under consideration here, and which is the only type that can be verified as either existing or not existing. Thus it is false to say that any individual thing possesses intrinsic value; it is however correct to say that humans value many things, many of them very intensely. The distinction between things being of intrinsic value and things being merely valued is significant in understanding the origins and delusions that evolve around the concept of “value”.


  • When we find ourselves valuing some particular thing, and then find that almost everyone else does so also, it is convenient to our thinking and to our feelings, to respond as if a particular thing has the intrinsic property of being of positive value. Also when we find ourselves and others avoiding a particular thing, it is likewise easy to think and feel that this particular thing has the intrinsic property of being of negative value. Thus it becomes our habit of thought and feeling to respond as though things have values somehow intrinsically imbedded within them.


  • By first thinking that we only value something, and that it possesses no intrinsic value, it becomes easier to not be compelled to seek or retain anything. it then becomes easier to avoid our negative responses to those things that others respond to as if they embodied negative values. This is one step towards reducing our desires for, and aversions to, most of the things that compel others to either move towards, grasp harder, or move away from things. By ridding or reducing our desires and fears, we become progressively more at ease with ourselves and the world about us. In this way, we take one long step closer to the state of becoming truly free.


  • It would seem that the above process would produce the mental state of a total value void, and for this reason such thinking and feeling would seem like our becoming mere machines that function throughout life without direction towards or away from anything. This doesn’t have to be the final outcome. Actually this process increases the valuing of our lives, but this step is not an easy one to take.


  • First one needs to sense the complete void of all values, both positive and negative, a kind of black-abyss that we can stare into, and then step back from and then ask ourselves the question, “Why did I not enter the black-abyss, but withdrew instead?” The slow to develop answer to this question will be as varied as is the rest of all other human variations, but the answer, and eventually the many answers, will reveal something within each of us that reflects our deepest feelings for valuing our living.


  • In theologies, these answers may be what are called our souls. We don’t and will never know, the origins of these deepest parts of ourselves, but what is certain is that they do exist. Once discovered and tested in our daily lives, these answers will more rationally enable us to seek a life that is deeply satisfying and avoid the many traps that every culture has set to get the individual into pursuing goals that tend to deplete all lives of meaning.


  • A genuine problem exists in adopting such a perspective of life, and that problem is the unknowable effects on children. Since the pursuit of our deepest inner-selves is something that only an adult should attempt, we shouldn’t expect children to make the same journey. In fact, most adults will be either unwilling or unable to make the journey. It is impossible to guess what would enable a child to pursue a productive life just for itself, if a void of values existed within and around the child. It is likely that children will always need the delusion of things having intrinsic values in order for them to mature to a state where they can support themselves and their families.


  • Probably only an adult that wants to become truly free can hope to employ a system of thoughts and feelings where nothing has value. We live in a culture that contends that freedom is one of the highest values, yet does its best to shackle those from actually seeking it. All individuals have needs for their deep inner-selves that become easily diverted by the popular delusion that material things can impart happiness and satisfactions. Initially it is a struggle to resist the popular delusions and journey only towards one’s personal goals. The journey is not a short one, and requires years, but as the journey continues, the journey itself becomes an unexpected source of satisfactions. One doesn’t suddenly arrive at the destination; rather the destination comes to us in small parcels for us to retain.


  • At first the state of believing and feeling that nothing has intrinsic value is frightening and depressing, as this state disavows most of what we have learned since birth. None-the-less, such a void needs to be sensed so that we can discover that part of ourselves that is unique to each of us, and which is unlikely to be satisfied by random pursuit.


  • At first, we are only able to fetch fragments of that deep inner-self, but after a while a whole need starts forming, then another, and another. After a while, enough of our deep inner-self becomes recognized to the point that we will see that the remainder of one’s life can be spent in fulfilling these newly discovered needs, so that visits to the black-abyss are no longer needed.


  • Once one has arrived at what some religions have called Nirvana, one will continue to be subjected to all kinds of value systems that we recognize as being extraneous to the needs of our deep inner-self. Because of this, one should, for the sake of harmony with others, impart other’s values into oneself, but only on a temporary basis. In this way the delusions of others are not disturbed and we don’t get stoned. Thus we can, when those foreign value systems fail, not be disturbed by their failure because we knew all along that their failures were inevitable, and that our deep inner-self therefore would remain undiminished and undisturbed in any way by their failures.


  • WALT HASKINS


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