Total Nihilism

The emperor has no clothes, and sooner or later everyone is going to see what’s staring them right in the face. When that happens, perhaps, there will be a major shift—a mass exodus away from the complexity and futility of all spiritual teachings. An exodus not outward toward Japan or India or Tibet, but inward, toward the self—toward self-reliance, toward self-determination, toward a common sense approach to figuring out just what the hell’s going on around here. A wiping of the slate. A fresh start. Sincere, intelligent people dispensing with the past and beginning anew. Beginning by asking themselves, “Okay, where are we? What do we know for sure? What do we know that’s true?"
Here’s a simple test. If it’s soothing or comforting, if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy; if it’s about getting into pleasant emotional or mental states; if it’s about peace, love, tranquility, silence or bliss; if it’s about a brighter future or a better tomorrow; if it makes you feel good about yourself or boosts your self-esteem, tells you you’re okay, tells you everything’s just fine the way it is; if it offers to improve, benefit or elevate you, or if it suggests that someone else is better or above you; if it’s about belief or faith or worship; if it raises or alters consciousness; if it combats stress or deepens relaxation, or if it’s therapeutic or healing, or if it promises happiness or relief from unhappiness, if it’s about any of these or similar things, then it’s not about waking up. Then it’s about living in the dreamstate, not smashing out of it.
On the other hand, if it feels like you’re being skinned alive, if it feels like a prolonged evisceration, if you feel your identity unraveling, if it twists you up physically and drains your health and derails your life, if you feel love dying inside you, if it seems like death would be better, then it’s probably the process of awakening.
And also:
I like happiness as much as the next guy, but it’s not happiness that sends one in search of truth. It’s rabid, feverish, clawing madness to stop being a lie, regardless of price, come heaven or hell. This isn’t about higher consciousness or self-discovery or heaven on earth. This is about blood-caked swords and Buddha’s rotting head and self-immolation, and anyone who says otherwise is selling something they don’t have.
http://www.spiritualteachers.org/jed-mckenna/
http://www.wisefoolpress.com/recipe-for-failure/
The above is something from the two links. It just got me thinking about the world that we live and and social constructions. He mentions something about unlearning all false knowledge and it sounds to me like nihilism. Like how the truth of existence is that it is empty of meaning and that by trying to assign meaning to it we are living in some kind of lie or dream, just pretending that things matter when objectively they don’t. Stuff like cities, countries, and all these other distinctions don’t really exist “out there” but they are just constructs we have made in our lives. It can even be argued that “love” is as well if you want to take the fact that the self does not exist as truth (and recent findings in neuroscience seem to suggest so).
SO do we really live in some kind of fantasy of our own construction? These lives we lives, stories we tell, games we play, is it all some kind of joke we play on ourselves to deal with the void?

I made sure I had time to sit and “enjoy” your post. For a minute there, I thought you’d almost finally nailed one. But of course they aren’t your own words.
At least you’ve moved on from believing the conclusions these guys draw and are stopping and asking questions that should be asked. Of course boundaries and laws are a construction. You can tell because there is a paper trail. Nations as we know them were invented in 1630 with the treaty at Westphalia. That’s why we call them Westphalian nation-states. Laws, well, c’mon, do I need to explain how laws are made? Watch one of those cartoons from the 70’s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-eYBZFEzf8
The stuff you read is by people who missed all this in school, but then suddenly realized it when they were reading something on their own. So they believe they discovered something that no one else knows, and they are a little mad no one told them (although everyone tried to tell them) and now they think it is their duty to inform everyone of what they figured out. But since they learned it the way they did, their education is almost certainly incomplete. They should go back and read some more instead of making websites.
But, you can salvage something half-way decent out of this. The warm fuzzy things often are the lies that keep you from thinking and the things that feel difficult are exactly what you should be pushing in to. It’s not that simple of a formula, but when applied with a good dose of reason and evidence it can work.

I made sure I had time to sit and "enjoy" your post. For a minute there, I thought you'd almost finally nailed one. But of course they aren't your own words. At least you've moved on from believing the conclusions these guys draw and are stopping and asking questions that should be asked. Of course boundaries and laws are a construction. You can tell because there is a paper trail. Nations as we know them were invented in 1630 with the treaty at Westphalia. That's why we call them Westphalian nation-states. Laws, well, c'mon, do I need to explain how laws are made? Watch one of those cartoons from the 70's. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-eYBZFEzf8 The stuff you read is by people who missed all this in school, but then suddenly realized it when they were reading something on their own. So they believe they discovered something that no one else knows, and they are a little mad no one told them (although everyone tried to tell them) and now they think it is their duty to inform everyone of what they figured out. But since they learned it the way they did, their education is almost certainly incomplete. They should go back and read some more instead of making websites. But, you can salvage something half-way decent out of this. The warm fuzzy things often are the lies that keep you from thinking and the things that feel difficult are exactly what you should be pushing in to. It's not that simple of a formula, but when applied with a good dose of reason and evidence it can work.
I agree.

Titanomachina, good to hear from you. I read this post days ago, but don’t know what to do with it, so had no two cents to toss in.
Then weirdly just now busy with totally other thoughts and things, I was listening to Carol Dweck and she got me to thinking about you,
though I still can’t quite figure the connect.
Perhaps just the semantics thing,
one word can make a huge difference in perception.
You (and rest of youz out there :slight_smile: ) might find her thoughts interesting to chew on.

About Carol Dweck's TED Talk https://www.npr.org/2016/06/24/483126798/should-we-stop-telling-kids-theyre-smart Carol Dweck finds that the words adults use to describe kids' progress affects the children's belief in their own potential. About Carol Dweck Carol Dweck is a professor at Stanford and the author of Mindset, a classic work on motivation. She studies the benefits of a "growth mindset," which is the belief that we can improve and grow. She has also taught at Harvard and Columbia.

I was going to throw in my two cents worth, too, but I can’t improve on what Lausten said above. Of course society is an artificial construct. Good thing, too. The alternative would be complete anarchy.

I was going to throw in my two cents worth, too, but I can't improve on what Lausten said above. Of course society is an artificial construct. Good thing, too. The alternative would be complete anarchy.
Well it has more to do with the content of what the guy was saying and in the links. Even with some of the people who read his books and claim that "only read these if you want to wake up". That if you like the life you have now with friends, family, and a job that you should not read his books. It makes it sound like he is right about the price of truth being everything you hold dear and to be happy is to live some kind of lie.
I was going to throw in my two cents worth, too, but I can't improve on what Lausten said above. Of course society is an artificial construct. Good thing, too. The alternative would be complete anarchy.
Well it has more to do with the content of what the guy was saying and in the links. Even with some of the people who read his books and claim that "only read these if you want to wake up". That if you like the life you have now with friends, family, and a job that you should not read his books. It makes it sound like he is right about the price of truth being everything you hold dear and to be happy is to live some kind of lie. So, all happy people are asleep? Do you think understanding reality must result in feeling bad? Is there no way to live with the realization of how the world works?
I was going to throw in my two cents worth, too, but I can't improve on what Lausten said above. Of course society is an artificial construct. Good thing, too. The alternative would be complete anarchy.
Well it has more to do with the content of what the guy was saying and in the links. Even with some of the people who read his books and claim that "only read these if you want to wake up". That if you like the life you have now with friends, family, and a job that you should not read his books. It makes it sound like he is right about the price of truth being everything you hold dear and to be happy is to live some kind of lie. So, all happy people are asleep? Do you think understanding reality must result in feeling bad? Is there no way to live with the realization of how the world works? Not according to him and the people who have read his books, did you read the first link I posted. And apparently many students who became enlightened.
I was going to throw in my two cents worth, too, but I can't improve on what Lausten said above. Of course society is an artificial construct. Good thing, too. The alternative would be complete anarchy.
Well it has more to do with the content of what the guy was saying and in the links. Even with some of the people who read his books and claim that "only read these if you want to wake up". That if you like the life you have now with friends, family, and a job that you should not read his books. It makes it sound like he is right about the price of truth being everything you hold dear and to be happy is to live some kind of lie. So, all happy people are asleep? Do you think understanding reality must result in feeling bad? Is there no way to live with the realization of how the world works? Not according to him and the people who have read his books, did you read the first link I posted. And apparently many students who became enlightened. I've posted many a post that says the opposite. How do you know these people are enlightened
did you read the first link I posted. And apparently many students who became enlightened.
Did you read it? It purposely confuses you about whether this Jed character is real. It is classic cult indoctrination stuff. It includes statements about how important it is to think for yourself and learn for yourself, then it tells you what conclusions you should arrive at after doing that research. This is how religion functions. It tells you to read the Bible, and if you don't find Jesus there, then it tells you read the Bible wrong.
did you read the first link I posted. And apparently many students who became enlightened.
Did you read it? It purposely confuses you about whether this Jed character is real. It is classic cult indoctrination stuff. It includes statements about how important it is to think for yourself and learn for yourself, then it tells you what conclusions you should arrive at after doing that research. This is how religion functions. It tells you to read the Bible, and if you don't find Jesus there, then it tells you read the Bible wrong. That's what I thought at first but then there is stuff like this about people who are so certain of the insight that they have: http://www.spiritualteachers.org/bob-cergol/ An intensity of awareness built until at some instant the entire world — including ME — was OUT THERE — part of the view. Yet there was no dichotomy because this awareness also CONTAINED the whole view, the totality. In that instant I saw there was NO DEATH — because there was NOTHING TO DIE! In that instant I saw the equality of all beings, their essential unity — they were all manifestations from the same ground. http://www.spiritualteachers.org/bob-fergeson/ In the spiritual search, the quest for true self-definition, we soon come to the realization that our best efforts, and even our very selves, are mechanical and reactive. No matter how subtle or astute our meditation may be, we will never realize nirvana by using yet another facet of samsara. A different level of seeing is needed, a pure awareness that is not itself a product of the world or mind, but primary to the reaction pattern we call ourselves. A looking which is attentive, yet not reactive. A listening which is not affected by circumstance and the constant changes of the mind. Such an attention would lie outside of time and space, beyond circumstance, yet be aware of them as well as itself. Such a Listening Attention would also be directly connected to the formless inner realm of our True Self, and provide a Gateway to Within. Coming to know ourselves eventually crushes the ego, in that we find we are not what we imagined ourselves to be. We begin to see that the person we think we are is purely mechanical, a robot. Honesty and courage will be needed if we are to accept what we see, and perseverance when we find our task difficult and wish to retreat back into imagination. This process of dis-identifying leads to ego-death, as we separate from our pattern. The simple act of clearly seeing the person we were for what it truly is, is enough to bring about its death. We find we have become that which witnesses experience, where before we were experience, creating more and more experiences in an endless mechanical pattern. We are no longer the wily animal we have been tracking, which becomes cleverer with every experience, but instead something free, eternal, and indescribable. Stalk this “I" thought, see where it leads. To be identified with and trapped in the confines of circumstantial response patterns, one after another, without rest, is hell on earth and the cause of our needless suffering. To be free is to reside in that which does not change, yet is aware, and does nothing. In spiritual work, we hear a lot about the so-called ‘false self’. We may then decide, based on our new found information, to distance ourselves from this ‘self’, and look for something else we have heard of : the real ‘Self’. This splitting of our ‘selves’, sad to say, becomes just another trap of the mind to keep us lost in the realm of thought. After some honest self-observation, we may see that we have invented a problem so that we might continue unabated in our love affair with thought. Fearing a loss of continuity of thought, which we equate with death, we enter a new ‘spiritual’ realm in which we can become lost for years, perhaps lifetimes. Let us take a look at this realm of thought and its various selves, and see why we worship it so, this paradox, this trap of mind and fear from which few escape. The last part got me thinking about the self and who we are. THe more I think about it the more that trying to create an identity seems like you are describing a piece of hardware. You give the name and list the traits and attributes about it, and I Don't want to think of it in such a manner and yet I can't see things to the contrary. Yet I can't help that most of these people are just trying to convince themselves of something that doesn't exist. They even assume things like Nirvana exist, yet I doubt that it does. I just can't seem to argue with these people because They tend to dismiss what you say as "conceptual" or "mind" and sweep things away with direct experience. But those things don't really prove anything.
Coming to know ourselves eventually crushes the ego, in that we find we are not what we imagined ourselves to be. We begin to see that the person we think we are is purely mechanical, a robot.
What a surprise, I respond to one thing you put up and you say, oh yeah, but then there's this. You've changed, but the pattern is still the same. You don't want to resolve anything or discover anything, you just want people to tell you what to think so you can tell them they are wrong and get them to tell you something else. Actually, the default position is to feel like a robot. We just didn't have the word robot until recently. Earlier spiritual journeys are about "going inside" or "inner exploration". They might have called it the heart because no one told them thoughts come from the head. Modern people imagine their thoughts between their ears because we are told that's where our thoughts are. But we don't feel thoughts. As Sam Harris says in that half hour interview I put up in the religion section, the self is very vulnerable to inspection. With just a little effort, you'll find that there isn't some guiding force in you anywhere that is separate from your body, there is just your experience, and that all comes from your body including your brain. It isn't grounded anywhere, so you can get it to float as far as your senses will go, including the sense of imagination. The danger is, when someone starts messing with this knowledge and tells you what that sense is. They'll tell you all that crap in the links you put up. Or they'll tell you it's god. In the worse cases, they'll tell you that you need them to guide you through to this new understanding and that everything you've learned up to now is bull. That's when you need to get the hell out of there.

They just make it sound like they have found some kind of deeper answers after talking about the peace they have found and etc etc. That you won’t reach enlightenment by intellect and that some things are beyond words and concepts, and they go on about direct experience.

They just make it sound like they have found some kind of deeper answers after talking about the peace they have found and etc etc. That you won't reach enlightenment by intellect and that some things are beyond words and concepts, and they go on about direct experience.
Yes. And they are making it all up out of nothing. Produce the goods or shut the hell up. Saying "deeper answer" is not an answer.
Titanomachina, good to hear from you. I read this post days ago, but don't know what to do with it, so had no two cents to toss in. Then weirdly just now busy with totally other thoughts and things, I was listening to Carol Dweck and she got me to thinking about you, though I still can't quite figure the connect. Perhaps just the semantics thing, one word can make a huge difference in perception. You (and rest of youz out there :) ) might find her thoughts interesting to chew on.
About Carol Dweck's TED Talk https://www.npr.org/2016/06/24/483126798/should-we-stop-telling-kids-theyre-smart Carol Dweck finds that the words adults use to describe kids' progress affects the children's belief in their own potential. About Carol Dweck Carol Dweck is a professor at Stanford and the author of Mindset, a classic work on motivation. She studies the benefits of a "growth mindset," which is the belief that we can improve and grow. She has also taught at Harvard and Columbia.
Brilliant!!! It's in my library of theory of brain functions.. Thank you for sharing. Another one of my favorite related Ted Talks is https://www.ted.com/talks/roger_antonsen_math_is_the_hidden_secret_to_understanding_the_world.
They just make it sound like they have found some kind of deeper answers after talking about the peace they have found and etc etc. That you won't reach enlightenment by intellect and that some things are beyond words and concepts, and they go on about direct experience.
Yes. And they are making it all up out of nothing. Produce the goods or shut the hell up. Saying "deeper answer" is not an answer. There’s a big part about “direct experience" because it’s something that you be and that you can’t put into words.
They just make it sound like they have found some kind of deeper answers after talking about the peace they have found and etc etc. That you won't reach enlightenment by intellect and that some things are beyond words and concepts, and they go on about direct experience.
Yes. And they are making it all up out of nothing. Produce the goods or shut the hell up. Saying "deeper answer" is not an answer. There’s a big part about “direct experience" because it’s something that you be and that you can’t put into words. So? That's why we have movies and books and poetry and song. We evoke feelings that are not easily explained by biology and neuroscience. People have been "finding some kind of deeper answer" like that since before we had written language. Stories can also lead you down a path that is completely inaccurate. Ayn Rand is a good example. I love talking about themes of stories, even to the point of going into a ritual space and dancing the story, but I only do that with people who agree that we will come out of that space and go back to the regular world. It's the people who say one type of thinking is better than others, or one type should be forsaken for the others that are dangerous.

I suppose I can understand tht.
It’s just that sometimes I wonder if these people are running from something. I remember that one of the people who read his book said that it destroys the illusion of a better life. Which got me thinking about it, how different lives might not always be strictly better but different. I haven’t read his books, and it’s probably in my best interest not to.
But I just have so many unsolved issues regarding the self.

I can’t explain some random person’s response to this book. I can look to well known works and listen to the views and opinions of people I respect. Much better use of my time than digging around obscure parts of the internet.

I guess, but what really bothers me is when they start to attack love, something that I do care deeply about. I’m just not comfortable with people calling it an illusion, seeing how much people are motivated by it.
As here:
Very much so, you know.
Everything around you is an illusion in fact. For example, if you are one light year away from the earth and you see the earth, you see events from one year ago. So what does that mean? Every event is so unreal that our perception of stuff mattering is almost comical.
One more thing is what love are we talking about here? Is it love towards the immortal stuff like music, science and art? or are we talking boy-girl love here?
First, let me come to the latter part
Human beings are fickle.
It is said in Bhagavad Gita
“canchalam hi manah Krishna
pramathi balavad drdham
tasyaham nigraham manye
vayor iva su-duskaram”
(Translation - Oh Krishna, the mind is fickle, turbulent , obstinate and restless. To control it seems more difficult than controlling a full blown storm)
Arjun mentions a problem that we have all faced at some point in our lives. We just cannot control our mind. One minute, I’m thinking of focussing on work and the next minute, here I am on Quora answering random questions. How many days have you procrastinated stuff? As Arjun mentioned, its easier to control a storm than to control the human brain.
This is the fickle mind that we are dealing with. It is just impossible to create a “real” bond between one such human mind and another…especially when one has choices in choosing another mind - that is, your love towards your mother can be true because , one can have only one mother…thus in fact your love is towards maternity than towards the mind of the mother itself…no one would love their mother if the mother wasn’t kind and loving…would you love your mother if she had harassed you verbally and physically as a kid? No…because, you love the concept of maternity…which is care…and not the human being, that is the mother itself.
Now coming to lovers, a person has more than one choice for another human being as a “lover”. Now he/she categorizes a lot before choosing one …and that narrows it down to around a million rather than a billion choices. Now can we trust our fickle mind to bond “really” with another such fickle mind? The answer is no, the bond is not real. It is an illusion.
This illusion is created because we want it to be created. As things stand, no “normal” human being will like to admit that deep inside they are lonely. How much ever you claim to love a person, all the person can do is stand by and watch during some of your sufferings. Sure you’ll claim that him/her “being there for you” is a great sign…but no, its not a great sign…its a sign of weakness…if your mind is strong enough, you won’t need anyone to “be there for you”
Popularisation of idiotic things like mocking the guy who eats alone or mocking a guy who is single and forty years old in our sex-minded society is what has led to the popularisation of the concept of love. People want to believe that they have found their true lover…so that they aren’t “forty, single and eating alone”…
To sum it up - Love towards abstract things is ironically real…mainly because abstract things are a perception of one’s own mind…and hence your mind is totally attached to it.
Love towards “real” things is ironically an illusion…mainly because both of your minds are fickle