On Universal Fortune and Buddhist Prayers
Clarity crystal clear, that’s how I know a bitch in there
- Lloyd Banks
Controversial assumption in this piece of writing: Humans aren’t the only things with telos and the universe has a telos unto itself. This doesn’t mean that humans know the telos of the universe. Just that humans can extrapolate telos from their individualism and apply the concept to other objects. If things didn’t have purpose, we wouldn’t care about conserving the ecosystem. It doesn’t make sense that humans can point to purpose and say “we created the purpose, the universe did not.” Or “we can point to purpose but it’s really not there, it’s just a figure of speech.” What’s a figure of speech? Does it have a purpose?
We understand that “telos” can be manipulated and things can be “re-purposed.” A down on their luck, drug addict can be rehabilitated and the purpose of the individual can change (correlated with personal discipline) from getting drugs into their system to doing good in their community. Or an invasive species can be let loose in a ecosystem and a previous inhabitant can find a new purpose in being an easy meal for the invasive species.
Without considering telos, we understand the world-as-is as a world that is. Their is no purpose, just an act of being.
When we get upset with this telosless world, we seek to understand the beingness of our upsetness with a re-working of our being. This would be a quasi-Buddhist approach. A combination of accepting the world as it is and a struggle to accept it.
There are many ways to accept the world. Passivity is forced on us as the first method of accepting. Outside the passive meditation, however, there is a struggle to reach meaning. Telosless meaning is like objective knowledge. You acquire the meaning by studying the struggles. A Buddhist view of struggle can be researched. But we don’t really care what Buddhists say on this. The important thing to note is that struggle and the world-as-it-is are two different things.
In less abstract terms, an example of this struggle is studying biology. There is no telos imposed on the biology being study. Just an analysis of the struggle the biodiversity passively go through to attain their state of being. A mocking bird evolving as it evolved did so from a struggle that can be isolated from the world-as-it-is. We can place a mocking bird in various testing environments where its struggles will remain consistent but there will be a difference in how the bird overcomes its struggles compared to its struggles in its “natural” habitat.
Here we don’t study the mocking bird so much but rather the struggle of the mocking bird. This can be shown if you leave a group of mocking bird in a new environment, they will evolve new features to accommodate the new challenges they’ll have to struggle against. The new species will teach us not about purpose but how a new ecosystem comes into being.
For our concerns, controversially, Ima go ahead an say humans are more important than any nonhuman animals when it comes to talking about struggling with the environment. If we can assure humanity a certain quality of life, the rest of the nonhuman animals (even the ones I actively hate) will be alright.
For example, you have wild game poachers because a bunch of stupid humans think husks and ivory have magical properties. When I bring up the topic of quality of life for humans, I don’t mean ensuring every household has a two car garage and three cars in the driveway. I mean that humans can sustain a life with a healthy mental disposition.
You grew up in a capitalist society where the burden of responsibility is not on society but on the individual. The individual is out for their own and that establishes the rules of the game and the quality of life the individual can hope to attain.
What can humans do to reimagine our struggle as not about individual responsibilities, but about societal responsibilities? Before I worry about not having three cars in my garage, should I worry that somewhere across the world some idiot is doing a line of bull horns cause their dick don’t work?
Buddhist prayers are like koans. The prayer has no purpose and no expectation of being answered. But the prayers are, the prayers be; “please let me find the means to keep my daughter alive.” Said by an aging mother with no one else in the world except society, a group of people whose only nontrivial relationship is their proximity to our physical bodies. No sentiments. Maybe pity, they can’t do nothing to help the aging mother but they consider her position unfortunate.