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Fragment III (Morning Song)

Fragment III

The Axis of Life

A life, at any given moment, may be understood in terms of its experience and experience only. Experience is experience is experience. All perception qualifies equally as experience: feeling one’s head on a pillow is no less experience than feeling fatigued or reflecting on the day that has passed. The sense of one’s identity, memories, thoughts are facets of mental experience and, together with sense perception, they are simply the forms one’s consciousness takes. Without experience, consciousness would be a shapeless mirror, formless until it took the form of something that appeared before it.

But to understand a life purely in terms of its experience will only provide the color and not the figure. It is the Will that exists beyond the contents of consciousness that drive life and shapes the self. It is a divine force originating in the formless reality that underlies the phenomenal reality we perceive, and it drives the universe. When it works through the individual who perceives the universe in his unique way, it is formed by him, and so he chooses where to direct his experience. Where the Will meets experience is the axis of life, and if one can act out the Divine Will, then one’s experience is divine.

Consciousness is a particular way of perceiving reality: for humans, it is a human way, and for the individual, it is an individual human way. Consciousness must be in something else because otherwise it would perceive nothing other than itself, and a single consciousness is born from this “something else.” It cannot emerge from a totality in which there is no consciousness, but must at least come from something that has the potential for consciousness. If it has the potential for consciousness, then it has the capability to be either [or both] conscious and/or unconscious, something and/or nothing. If it can be either conscious or unconscious, and we can only be conscious, then it is greater than ourselves, and each individual is a part of a whole. If the individual is a part of a whole, then the loss of that individual is only a loss of a distinction of part from whole, and really nothing is lost but a point of view, an individual way of perceiving reality.


Sacred King Prayer

When he wakes up, he simply becomes the stream through which the universe flows. He is not the water, but lets the world around him be the water. He holds onto nothing and lets all things pass, perceiving all else, and being that nothing that reality falls through. He is a tunnel between potential and actuality.

The greater the mind, the greater the suffering and the greater the despair. For where necessity and possibility intersect there is the greatest potential for both virtue and sin. He must find himself where angels fear to tread; every genius must converse with a devil. And after he has wielded his sword and faced his enemy, the hero always leaves us in song, in lyrics of victory or sacrifice.

The world knocks, and I listen. What is life to those who do not listen? Reality will one day dissolve, and all that is left will be formless. Yet the formless is here at this moment as well, in the deepest level of the experience of the world. I listen to both the finite and the infinite, but I do not lose myself in either. I have one plea: Please, let me be wise in both thought and action and let my mind be unperturbed by that which is beyond my control.


And as my works

And days are made

And pass, may they


Take the form of creation’s face,

Etched in strokes that God alone can trace.

Eternity, perceived in empty space.


*After the Loss of My Mother*


The only reason I think about faith so often is that I lack it. It is so difficult to achieve it but I desire it more than anything else and try to hard. Perhaps my most frightening thought is that because I have spent so much of my life doubting that God exists, I am now merely trying to neutralize that doubt by convincing myself that God exists—I only “believe in God” because I do not believe in God. I do not worry much about damnation, but there are few nights I do not pass in fear of oblivion. I rarely admit it, but I have suffered more than I have enjoyed life, and I have felt God’s absence more than his presence. When I feel contented, I have faith, but does the faith cause the contentment or is it the reverse? I want nothing more than to surrender to God, but is that a sign of strength or weakness? How do I not even know what I believe? And why do I feel that I am being laughed at?


I hope for a benevolent God, fear a malevolent God, and believe in an indifferent God.


Confessions

Late at night

Heaven and Hell do not exist in other realms but within me; my claws hunger for flesh but I have wings that are the stuff of angels. I cannot see when I do not see my shadow.

My thoughts are daggers and my mind is murder. My suffering is thicker than the flesh that it inhabits so that it composes more of myself than my body does. I am ashamed to say these things. I cannot stand anyone who laments in such a dramatic way.

I believe the source of all my trouble is that I’m not sure what I believe. I know what I want to believe, and I think I know what I intellectually believe. In my bones, I do not know if I believe in anything. Or maybe I do, and I have actually had the same beliefs my whole life, beliefs that are now buried beneath mountains of confusion.


November 13

You always flip back to the relevant page. Maybe you should open this journal up more often. Things just slip right out of your mind. Entire days that have been what I regarded very significant learning experiences—poof. They rarely enter my mind. You make all these changes and then they work, or it’s just by chance, but you start feeling better. That’s all okay, though. You’re always adapting because life is always changing. What do you want to change now, then?

You make choices on how to live your life, and there are a lot of options: with others, with yourself. And then more options within those options: fitness, drugs, kindness, confidence. These really are choices reflecting the person that you are. You’ve already chosen, so now just live out your choice. The world is habit. It becomes how you structure your life. Structure your mind and life according to the person you want to be, and the rest will follow.


November 14

I have understood for a long time now how I should live. I have spent so long thinking about ethics and virtue and happiness, I published an article on the relation between deontology and the teleological suspension of the ethical. And I do believe that I have been living ethically, in the basic way at least. I give a good portion of my income to charity, I never lie, I help my students more than is expected of me, I keep up with politics, and I think before I speak. But only recently I have been realizing that this contemplation and aforethought of actions are not enough. I am thirsty for something more, and I need an ideal to live by that is outside of myself, but to live by any ideal I must have faith in it.

I have been feeling a strange draw on my attention lately, and it’s almost palpable in the way that it directs my gaze and pulls my body this way and that. I do not understand it, but it feels like my body has become just barely magnetized so that I feel an attraction toward individuals who are suffering and in need. It has not yet led me anywhere I would have otherwise refused to go, but I have this intuition that I should walk down whatever path it illuminates for me. But if I had this urge to leave and join a monastery, for instance, I believe I would deny that intuition. That would require faith, and I do not understand well enough what this influence is to have faith in whatever it wishes me to do.




Written Under Moonlight

The underlying fabric of this universe is neither physical nor mental, but these are the categories in which we perceive everything. There are no real boundaries between “objects,” but we categorize everything we see. Time is not a procession of moments, but we divide it into units. These are not choices, they are the consequences of being finite creatures. For a temporal being to perceive anything at all, it must limit it. Eternity is beyond our intelligence, and so we must break it into smaller pieces. The human mind operates by rationalizing existence into concepts and individual meanings, but as rationality becomes all the more sophisticated, so humanity loses its intuitive understanding of Being as a single absolute. Those who dive into this intuitive understanding become simpler. The more simple the individual’s perception of the world, the closer it is to the way things are in themselves.




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