Why? Like Cee-Lo, “Why? Why? Why? Why?”
Why do this?
This is an ‘I Believe’ moment.
I believe that people are good, that they want to be good. It used to be that the argument was between the “Noble Savage” and the “Fallen Man” and they used to go at it: Rousseau and Hume, Montaigne and Pascal, most of the Enlightenment guys were on one side the fence or the other. The Tarzan myth (the feral child with an inherent idea of righteousness) emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century in fiction with Burroughs but it’s obvious that the roots of the idea of this “daydream figure” are deep in the soil of the previous century’s philosophy.
Here, on the topsoil of the 21st century, with repeatable results, we find that out bodies are built to experience the suffering of others. The discovery of Mirror Neurons in our two brains (we have one in our bellies) ends the discussion: our DNA creates us to be nice, to feel for others, to experience compassion. A function of our body – no matter the mind – is to experience the suffering of others as if it were our own.
How did I get so selfish that I was willing to ignore the signals from my own body? Was it the grief at a mother passing too young? Is it our culture of television and manufacture that disconnected me from others? Maybe it was the production-line education that inculcated me with facts but failed to give me any understanding of others; Bolivia is down there, but I have no idea how you’re feeling.
I believe that I’ve lived this life poorly. On the face of it, that statement looks bleak and fatalistic, but I intend to out-Spinoza Spinoza: the valuable lesson to be learned from repentance, from guilt and regret, is how useless they are. If the goal is happiness (and what better goal can you think of?) then get into regret, get into guilt and worry. Spend time deep in it, get to know it, see what it does. Then get over it.
I’m done hating myself. That’s kind of the result of not knowing anything about me. How can I hate something I don’t know? I don’t have an dogma that’s determined to drive anyone into the sea. None of my beliefs involve denigrating others because of what region their people come from. So I’m giving it up, the whole program of lousy self-talk and self-sabotage, of guilt and regret and being bad to get what I think I deserve.
Forty-nine days. Tibetan Buddhist thought has it that seven weeks is the period between death and rebirth. As metaphors go… Perfect.