A direct and holistic confrontation with the insane personal and collective betrayal of our source in life makes evident that an entirely different manner of being human is necessary. However, the tribal and self-centered system of thought responsible for the interpersonal, social, and environmental mess in which we live is incapable of going beyond itself. All it knows is to go on mechanically producing partial, insufficient, and contradictory modifications of itself. Traditional means of social progress and personal development (both secular and religious) are, for the most part, integral components of the chronic division of the species and active contributors to its mental disorder. A non-divisive and non-destructive mode of existence implies the collapse in any given brain/mind of the general mindset that for fifty-thousand years has created and propelled multiple and always contradictory projects intended to improve the mental and material lot of particular sets of human beings.
The dangerous circumstances we face today are the net outcome of all the limited and contradictory knowledge that serves as the ground of our separate cultural and personal identity and that mechanically fuels and guides all our theorizing, rationalizing, and striving. The “better” ways of thinking, feeling, constructing, and fighting we routinely come up with will never, ever, be able to transcend the intrinsic limitation of a mind conditioned by the self-projective representational record of tribal and personal experience. The multiple cultural and egoic entities created by the global system of thought are capable of designing and implementing endless modifications to themselves, but utterly incapable of solving the problems and conflicts their activity generates, let alone of deactivating their alienation from one another and life itself. Even though the self-centered record of previous experience and its pie-in-the-sky secular and religious idealism constitute an evident and grave threat to our species (and perhaps the biosphere as a whole), we remain fiercely loyal to the redemptive potential of MORE of the same. Our betrayal of life lies, in fact, in the blind defense of our respective identities and life projects for that is precisely how the barrenness of thought sustains itself.
While aware of all this, one may still hold back, feeling that the human organism may not be able to endure the erosion of its social position and its identity without going insane or even dying. It is not unreasonable to ask whether the human mind as presently constituted might be able to survive the nearly complete uncertainty that comes from opening itself, not just to the unknown but the unknowable and, this, not only in the cosmic reality supposedly “outside” itself, but within as well. Put differently, is the present psycho-somatic reality of the human organism capable of withstanding the collapse of its memory and thought-based sense of existential separation from other beings and from the cosmic context of life itself?
We each are what we happen to know, plus the fears, desires, and endeavors that regularly spring up from this self-additive knowledge, and it is precisely this sense of who we are that makes the possibility of an encounter with the unknowable abhorrent to us. However darkly we intuit that such an event would destroy, not just the apparent safety of our cultural orientation and the regions of experience to which we might be most attached but, more ominously, our claim to a separate and unique existence. If a distinctly private consciousness is, indeed, the ground of our being, who in their right mind would want to risk losing herself to access a reality that is, in its multidimensional and dynamic totality, utterly beyond the reach of knowledge and thought? Well, it all depends on what is the real ground of our being and how a “right mind” is defined.
Is it wise to continue giving the benefit of the doubt to the enduring and thought-full tribalism and self-centeredness that has taken hold of the human mind and is presently placing in jeopardy our very survival? Can we continue trusting that the next election will solve the myriad problems that beset us, or should we place our hope instead on more fervent prayer or a better system of meditation? Is the final answer to the chronic anxiety and sorrow of the world better therapy and more potent psychotropic drugs, further improvements in the flow of capital, the achievement by a given nation or ideology of total cultural and military domination over all others or, perhaps, just a more significant effort on the part of activists committed to one social movement or another?
For the increasing number of people who are fully aware of the direness of the global situation, it is evident that these forms of social and psychological change are only modified versions of our habitual manner of thinking and reacting, and therefore hardly a solution to what ails us. What the well-being and very survival of humanity demands is its peaceful integration, which is strictly dependent on the emergence of a mind somehow free of the divisive representational record of experience. Again, the problem is that every tribe, group, family, and person depends on this record to claim, not just a particular identity, but a (fraudulent) sense of separate existence.
The questions and the objections keep coming up. Is it reasonable to consider the possibility that a mind hemmed in and desensitized by the mental trace of pre-personal (evolutionary), cultural, and personal experience could rid itself of the harmful parts and reiterative actions of memory? And how is this radical emptying to come about considering that even the best-intended form of thought cannot possibly access the physiology of the brain where this mental programming is encoded? Finally, can an ordinary individual overcome its own resistance to such a radical purge of mind and self, and simultaneously survive the sanctions with which every cultural group prevents ideological and behavioral breaches on the part of non-properly conforming members?
Now, no one who is fully aware of the urgent need for a radically new mode of being human has answers to these questions because their source would have to be the mind/brain conditioning (the self-projective knowledge) that is the problem in the first place. So, for such a person, the only possible approach to a mind free of dysfunctional content is a negative and passive one. Negative, in that it rejects the known along with the different forms of authority that determine and police its self-righteous inviolability. And, passive, in that there is no preset ulterior purpose or goal motivating this negation; it is simply the natural outcome of perceiving the divisiveness and other harmful characteristics of self-centered knowledge and exclusive desire.
In different terms, a deep and unwavering concern for the fate of humanity expresses itself in the willingness to stand alone, that is, unidentified, and hence uninfluenced by self-protective attachments to specific groups, individuals, practices, things, images, and ideas. This aloneness is not isolation and consequently does not suffer the feelings of anxiety or depression generally associated with abandonment or morbose separation from others. It is rather the natural stance of a mind independently and intensely aware of the personal, social, and environmental consequences of personal identification with particular traditions, ideologies, and experiences.
Holistic attention to the present state of the human mind and the toxic social reality it engenders is unprecedented in the sense that is not mediated by the record of previous cultural and personal experience or the expectations, positive or negative, that this record mechanically projects onto the future. Freedom from the burden of pre-established ideology and the insecurities, relational animosities, and sterile obligations typical of psychological isolation restores the natural perceptual and affective capacities of the mind, thus making possible action exclusively based on caring attention to fact, the hallmark of sanity. Put differently, a full insight into the human mind conditioned, splintered, and conflicted by fixed associations and dis-associations with different components of the same dysfunctional psychological and cultural reality dissolves the physiological and psychological foundations of tribal and egocentric thought, thus restoring integral health to the organism.
It is possible to overcome the false separation created and sustained by the mental record of experience, but this assertion is worthless if taken-in as yet another idea about “self-realization” perhaps worth thinking about tomorrow and pursuing the week after. The intrusion of thought in this matter instantly creates an illusory gradual transition between an undesirable conditioned mind and whatever idealized notion of an enlightened future self it may fancy. There is no amount of time and effort that can turn self-centeredness into whatever one may imagine might be its opposite or an improved version of the same thing. The obsession of the self with itself has to end, period, because this end is, in itself, the clarity and the intelligent and loving action that the world suffering from the myopia and dullness of self-centered thought so desperately needs. To care about the fate of a divided humanity perennially at odds with itself is to be willing to abandon the false sense of separate and secure existence that may still be hampering perception and impeding truly intelligent, and therefore selfless and compassionate action. This level and quality of affection is not an idea; thus, no one can get it from another, yet it is accessible to anyone. As previously mentioned, there is no room in this crucial matter for any form of authority, exemplary or merely theoretical.
It may be worth ending this brief essay by emphasizing the importance of realizing early on that what we all know as “my” self is not at all different from the rest of the contents of the self-additive (and subtractive) memory present in slightly different forms in everyone. It is, therefore, useless to keep expecting anything significant to come from one part of consciousness (the managerial uber self, or some made-up extra-natural, but in-residence entity sympathetic to “my” fate) attempting to change or transcend others. Sensitivity, goodness, and intelligence are not attributes of an “enlightened” self, but of an empty and therefore selfless mind; a mind that while able to utilize thought when proper and necessary, is not grounded in images and ideas, but in the actual and undivided (and hence unthinkable) movement of life.