Monday, January 12, 2009

Blind by Definition

The Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote

...'that with such passionate clearness a man sees and knows over what he is in despair, but about what it is-- escapes his notice... For the "immediate" man does not recognize his self; he recognizes himself only by his dress, he recognizes that he has a self only by externals... In possibility, everything is possible, thus a man can go astray in all possible ways. One form is wishful... the other form is melancholy, fantastic--on one hand hope, on the other fear or dread... In order to will [when] in despair, to be oneself, there must be consciousness of the infinite self.'

The self who one might think of as the 'original face,' is the face that existed before you were born. Yet we are all blind by definition. We may see the other clearly, but not ourself. As Ezra Bayda writes in At Home in the Muddy Waters, 'to the extent that we're not aware...we're bound to follow this predictable path. When two people who don't know themselves reach the point of conflict, the result is a collision... even though it may be easy to see how unaware the other person is, our own blind spots are blind by definition. Yet these [persistent] conflicts are clues that we're in the dark... believing in our reaction is another tell tale sign of darkness to self. Many power struggles have resulted from a perceived notion of a failing, or a loss of a good or promise to us. We then act to recoup what must be ours, partitioned, from our now enemy. But in the exchange, we are mired in both our hopes and our fears; we despair to will to be ourself, the face that exists now and infinitely.

'Failure to work with, and to work out our perceived 'need for power, our self centered desires to possess, our fear based need to control results in hatred, intolerance and aggression. The blindness to self firstly, and towards the other secondly, is the source of all conflicts...without inner understanding, individuals and societies flounder," writes Bayda.

Part of the simple mind, joy in relationships, comes not so much from getting what we think we need, or from happiness, but from contact with our essential self, our infinite or original self. The expression of this connection is through generosity, a sharing of that self infinitely. It is like a well, we drink of its unending source all that is essential.

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