Dull minds


Take any microcosm of society and regard it as a fair approximation of the macrocosm. Driven by personal issues people are led into all manner of misinterpretations of the things going on around them. Examined in minute detail, every day innumerable misperceptions and misinterpretations occur, which, though often small, lead in the end to bigger misperceptions as time goes on, as people lay down further illusions on the unsafe foundation they have built, all the time believing they are right, hardly ever thinking to challenge their own appreciation of the situation, for all these people will often think of themselves as perceptive and intelligent.

The Chinese have a saying:

Off by a fraction in the beginning, far off the mark at the end.

One only has to watch a trial, to see the skillfulness with which words and impressions can be twisted to create diametrically opposed versions of events. Most of the jury, of course, will have made their mind up way before all the evidence has been heard, and a few will doubtless have done so on the basis that prosecuting counsel looks great in that suit, just like Al Pacino. If that's a court of law, think how much more reality proves elusive in a world where people read popular tabloid newspapers and allow themselves to be lulled into mediocrity by a five-hour fix of television most nights.

The world is teeming with opinions, impressions, and variant interpretations of the same thing. Each person lives at least some of their life on the basis of unchallenged assumption and reactive behaviour laid down by past hurts. Everyone by their life is in some way creating the world, even the smallest event can have massive consequences: you didn't walk that way home today so you weren't run over and killed, you go on to be a teacher who inspires a young lad to take up physics, the young lad grows up and writes an equation that is crucial for building a probe that tells us new things about Venus, these new facts about Venus leads to an invention to control the electromagnetic field of the Earth, 5000 people don't die as a result of an earthquake that would have levelled Tokyo, in Tokyo is a young lad who breeds fishes, one of these fishes mutates and provides a genetic clue to the origin of life, as a side benefit curing cancer, all because you didn't walk home that way today.

So I tend to think it's a jolly good thing that most of us don't have free will, because otherwise what a mess we'd make of everything. And those who do have free will, just think of the burden of carefulness that imposes. Is it any wonder then that those who have broken through the samsara of it all generally prefer to confine themselves to doing nothing more than enlightening others, and if that proves impossible, to just bugger off.

There's a lot of beaches to sit on in the world still, if you have any inkling of what is going on in this society I suggest that you just go and sit on one, and forget all your noble ideas of stemming the tide of dullmindedness, because the first thing you will come up against is a whole bunch of stupid people who can't even agree whether they've found the right room. And people wonder why Laozi left the world to its own devices riding off on the back of a water buffalo. I tell you, I'm just waiting for the next water buffalo to come along and that's it, sayonara baby.