An interesting quote:
There is no mystery to happiness.
Unhappy men are all alike. Some wound they suffered long ago, some wish denied, some blow to pride, some kindling spark of love put out by scorn - or worse, indifference - cleaves to them, or they to it, and so they live each day within a shroud of yesterdays. The happy man does not look back. He doesn't look ahead. He lives in the present.
But there's the rub. The present can never deliver one thing: meaning. The ways of happiness and meaning are not the same. To find happiness, a man need only live in the moment. But if he wants meaning - the meaning of his dreams, his secrets, his life - a man must reinhabit his past, however dark, and live for the future, however uncertain. Thus nature dangles happiness and meaning before us all, insisting only that we choose between them.
- Jed Rubenfeld, in The Interpretation of Murder.
Do we still look for meaning with an imminent future so uncertain and overwhelming that few dare even actually look anymore?
No future = depression
No past = anxiety
No present = OCD
Our social institutions promote the fantasy of themselves as saviour when they have led us into our planet as wasteland in the advanced stages of mass extinction. In these times avidya in a real sense is saviour from massive depression and a much needed crutch. Ignorance may not be bliss but the carrier of some hope.
Thanks, Rob. It is certainly worth reflecting upon. It is probably inevitable that civilisations generate a mesmeric complacency since they depend upon mass conformity which is an entrancement. Hobbes thought that we enlist in conformity because otherwise life would be "nasty, brutish and short", and this must have some truth, but it makes the process seem more conscious and rational than it actually is. Forgetting the past and occluding the future is a rather major degree of entrancement. Perhaps the fact that it has recently become a popular craze suggests that the need for entrancement is becoming greater. Apparently, only be living in the present moment can one hope for happiness in current circumstances. Does that mean that it is more necessary than ever to avoid 'meaning' - i.e. to have one's head in the sand and avoid knowing what is going on?
Yes, life happens! Namo Amida Bu.