Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just a thought...

I have had an "epiphany". (I put this word in quotation marks, as it is not so much an epiphany as a sudden idea; it is not a revelation, for naming it as such seems to suggest that this idea is Truth, and I am not at all sure that is the case). I was thinking about the various ways one could achieve Enlightenment, and I was suddenly faced with the concept of diseases of age that bring about an infantile state of helplessness, both mentally and physically. Many of us look upon these illnesses as the worst type of diseases imaginable; I have personally thought about preferring death over enduring such an illness. However, I started thinking about the possible purpose of these diseases. As William Blake says, we are all born into a state of Innocence, where we are unaware of all of the ills of this world. This is a paradisal state, but through Experience we Fall from paradise. However, Blake says, it is possible to regain this primitive state, and once we reclaim our childlike natures, we can reach a state of Higher Innocence. Now, what if one of the ways to attain Higher Innocence before death is to be FORCED back into an infantile state? What if one of the ways to attain Enlightenment is through a stripping of all conventions, all socially constructed values and sets of behaviours, brought about by these diseases? Now you and I, having fallen into Experience, would think that being reduced to such a state of mind, such a state of utter helplessness, would be an unimaginable travesty. But what about the individual who is going through this? Of course, at the beginning there would be fear and frustration, because surely the individual would be faced with the struggle against everything Experience tells him is wrong and fearful. But once that individual was engulfed in his illness... what then? Surely he is oblivious to all this suffering. Surely he is then wrenched from this cycle of samsara. Surely this 'illness' is the greatest form of detachment from the world. Is this Enlightenment? And in looking for a cure for these diseases, is Science trying to destroy the ultimate Spiritual Experience? And what does that say about us, if we are cheering Science on to victory?

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