Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Content *is* king

Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content.
           -- Louis L'Amour

Mmmm, true. On the other hand, if you're content, why would you want to go anywhere?


Philocalist said...

Being content has a Hell of a lot going for it, so much so that many / most find that state of mind extremely elusive, and strive to achieve it: being content does not have to mean compromise!

Jan said...

Well content is almost a synonym of information, and information wants to roam free, though some disagree:

"Information doesn't want to be free! It wants to be tied up and spanked. It told me so itself, in a naughty little whisper."
-- PylonHead, on Kuro5hin, Fri May 2nd.

eolake said...

P, yes indeed, if you have significant compromise, per definition you are not wholly content.

I will also not argue that the condition is *very* rare, which is probably why many confuse it with apathy.

emptyspaces said...

Funny, I've always equated contentedness with ignorance.

Alex said...

"I'd far rather be happy than right."

Slartibartfast, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Anonymous said...

emptyspaces. why?

Alex said...

If you are content with life, then that means you must believe all is well with the world.

If you believe all is well with the world, you must be ignorant of what is going on.

That's just my two penneth.

emptyspaces said...

Anon -

I guess I kind of agree with L'Amour's quote. If you're content, you're standing still. There's no reason to try and achieve anything if you're happy with how things are. If you're content, you've already achieved everything, so that's where the journey ends. But how can you ever stop trying? In my (admittedly skeptical) eyes, only an ignoramus could ever feel content because if he's content, he cannot possibly be paying attention to what happens in the world.

Reminds me of something William S. Burroughs once said about God - "He can't go anywhere because he's already everywhere. He can't do anything because the act of doing pre-supposes opposition."

To me, that means God has boxed himself in thanks to his omnipresence. Since there is so much he doesn't need to do, he must be content.

To an earthly being such as myself, being content marks the end of achievement due to complacency. But how can one ever stop trying to do more? Or better than before? My thought is that if one has his eyes wide open, he'll always want to do a little more.

It's an interesting question!

eolake said...

Yep, very interesting.

I've read Jed McKenna's books. He claims to be enlightened. He says it was a hard journey to get there, like "two years of stomach flu".
Now, he says, he has really nothing to do. He is Done in life. Waking up from the Dream that is the World is the final purpose. I guess when you die you then rejoin heaven and Source.

Anonymous said...

If you are content with life, then that means you must believe all is well with the world.

If you believe all is well with the world, you must be ignorant of what is going on.

Sometimes I wouldn't mind being able to turn off that knowledge, and just be truly content for a few hours. Every once ina while. It would be better than a vacation.

Anonymous said...

I guess when you die you then rejoin heaven and Source.

It's a shame there's no way to prove any of it. Plus the universe will eventually die - either in a Big Crunch of a Big Chill - and so that Source will die too. As for Heaven, no one has ever proved the existence of any of that stuff. To be honest, the Christian idea of Heaven sounds like Hell. When it comes down to it, the afterlife of all religions is lacking. Eventually you'd long for nonexistence. I woulnd't mind that so much if I could at least know the universe would continue on.

eolake said...

"Plus the universe will eventually die - either in a Big Crunch of a Big Chill - and so that Source will die too."

Indeed. If Source is subject to Time and Space.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

You may very well have explained why God seems to directly do little to nothing ever since the Big Bang. ;-)
(Mind you, I can relate: after a night of orgy, I too don't feel like doing much for a good while. ;-)
At least, little to nothing that can be detected by objective examination. The filter of faith is extra-scientific and cannot be universally settled upon.

But this pre-supposes defining God according to religions that keep telling us He's meddling in nearly everyting and all the time.
Smells like logical contradiction too my Vulcan nose, Captain.

How come people who blasphemate, so rarely get smitten by a lightning bolt or fiery meteor, and so much more often by very mortal zealots? Seems to me like someone is less content in religion than they repeatedly and tirelessly claim...
Isn't that right, Brother Osama? :-P

Somebody once summarized it pretty nicely: "In Heaven, Jews feast, Christians get high, and Muslims fornicate."

The thing is, one should not mistake serenity/contentment with illumination. A rock in the middle of a desert is perfectly satisfied, one and at peace with the entire Universe. Does that imply wisdom? Let's just be open-minded and answer "not necessarily".

Mother Teresa found her spiritual fulfilment in very actively mingling with some of the world's most abject misery. Same with Sister Emmanuelle.

One thing I am certain of, is that there is no one sole path. Not for all of us. Maybe individually, but I think not even the Course can solve everyone's deep spiritual challenges.
We're not all meant to become hermit Boddhisattvas chanting "aum!" all day and year long.

I'll dare chance committing blasphemy, and hypothesize that if Jed McKenna had indeed reached complete cosmic enlightenment, and done so by "waking up from the Dream that is the World", he should have gone all Quantum Leap on our sorry asses by vanishing into a billion atoms of light, straight to "Infinity and Beyond".
I view this like these theories about the Rapture: if it's not happening, something must be off somewhere in that perfect logic.

At best, this earthly existence, or the countless karma cycles of the Samsara, are a STAGE in a progression whose entirety we cannot hope to grasp wholely.

One step at a time is the way to advance, in the journey of a thousand miles. Just understanding what we are "down here" to learn, can already more than fill an entire lifetime.
I *am* content with what I have accomplished. But not content enough to stop trying. Just happy enough with myself, to continue this journey of discovery with unflinching enthusiasm.

And guess what? I'm also very happy to help others along the way in that trek. Somehow, absolute selfishness feels very wrong to me, and anyone that CAN be helped, that's willing to be helped, I'm drawn to do so. "Because I can", it's THAT simple.
If indeed the Course is right about us all being One then, ultimately, selfishness means to err and get lost.
Some people are just not "helpable". They're too deaf, stubborn, or have way too much inertia to even bother more than a test try. But not all.
Not all.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

I tend to always trust my deep instincts, because they have proven very reliable. And all my life, my instincts have whispered to me that lonely hermits claiming to have found God on top of a forsaken pillar had something not right about them. By essence. Leave the world to find peace? Yeah, sure. I can *SO* relate. But the ultimate Truth does not lie in emptiness. I always learn about myself from dealing with others.
And you, Eo, this very blog of yours, what does it say? That spiritually, your souls needs to communicate with others. Admit it: you LOVE it.