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Author Topic:   The Real World
Valus
Knowflake

Posts: 1638
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posted November 06, 2009 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Valus     Edit/Delete Message
This is a thread about "the real world", "reality", and facing up to our "responsibilities". Now, we all know what the culture we were born into tells us to think about these things, but I'd like to hear what you think. When you define these words for yourself, what do you come up with? I'll go first.


"The Real World", "Reality", and "Responsibility"


For me, everything in the world is real and everything we do in the world is real. "Real", to me, is anything that has consequence, or bearing on the other parts of life. As I see it, all things are interconnected and everything we do has consequences, great and small. If I have to distinguish between what, in the world, is more or less real, I would say important things that don't get talked about enough -- issues that get swept into the margins, but which have a profound effect on the happiness and/or survival of millions of beings -- have a semblence of reality which other things, on account of their obviousness, do not. When I distinguish one part of reality as more real than another, I tend to think of the former as something that is not obvious, but which needs to be realized and "faced up to". For instance, the systematic torture and murder of millions of animals is, to me, a reality, and one well worth facing up to, which carries certain responsibilities for the person willing to confront it. I'm not sure what other choices we make in our day to day lives contribute directly to unimaginable suffering, but if you can think of one, let me know. As far as I can see, there is no greater responsibility. But that's not what this post is gonna be about.

I think most people look at the civilization that's developed in the time and place into which they were born, and declare, "the real world!" But, to me, reality is something that transcends our civilization, with all its various ills and dictates. If we take a given society, culture, or civilization for "reality", we automatically close our minds to ways of seeing which contradict or transcend that society, culture, or civilization. In fact, we leave ourselves vulnerable to an amputation of all our best thoughts. Consider what would happen if the only things that could be found valuable are those things which one's culture defines as valuable, and which the people of a given age (which may well be a Dark Age) are willing to pay for. Is this how value is defined in "the real world", or, perhaps, is there a higher authority to which we may appeal? And, if I may be so bold as to make the suggesting, might it not be true that the person who lives primarily "in her head", is engaged in a confrontation with ultimate reality, or truth, which the person who lives primarily in the culture is in no position to perceive or comprehend?

Many people have been told, and have swallowed whole, the premise that all people should labor in a way amenable to their culture, so as to receive monetary compensation for their labor. In our time, it is a belief that prevails almost without question, that every person can find a place for themselves in the present configuration, and that they have a responsibility to find that place, so as to become a person of independent means. I suggest that what is necessary is not to become independent, but, to question and scrutinize this injunction to be independent. What does it really mean, anyway? Is anybody truly independent? Clearly, we are social beings, and the contruction of any and all civilizations, past and present, is such as to promote methods of mutual dependence. One may appear independent, but one cannot make soap, or grow oranges, or do all the things that one needs to do in order to survive comfortably. So, there is a system of mutual dependence, and the kind of independence which it is possible to acheive in any society will depend largely on what that society values and is willing to support and promote. Consequently, the people who acheive this brand of independence will be people who provide the culture with what the culture wants -- not necessarily what it needs, or what is best for it, but, what it wants.

In a society which openly devalues thought (inasmuch as thought does not take some other, more "real", form), acceptance will come to the ones who do not think. Indeed, the people who unconsciously assume the errors of their forefathers, and deem them "responsibilities", will be far less likely to have difficulty finding a place for themselves in the erroneous societies their forefathers created.

My understanding is that the present thrust of civilization does not reflect a manifestation of ultimate reality, but, a manifestation of an imbalance which favors patriarchal values, such as competition and "results" (or objects). The expectations which such a civilization makes on individuals do not reflect the reality of what they are capable of and may be happy doing, but, rather, the skewed and unhealthy values of that civilization. While many people may be able to adapt and assimilate into such a culture, it is by no means a given that all will, or that the ones who are unable to adapt are somehow less fit, from an evolutionary standpoint. As Jiddu Krishnamurti puts is: "It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." Our civilization has lost touch, in large part, with subtlety, nuance, and the value of things which cannot be neatly encompassed, worked into tangible form, and packaged. If it takes more than a minute to understand, you can be sure that some anti-intellectual, cultural mouthpiece will step forward with a "no nonsense" philosophy on his/her lips. The emphasis on results -- at least, so far as the culture has defined "results" -- is an alarming development in our time. For instance, it is common to hear assertions like the following: "If you haven't been published, you arent a writer." It makes no difference if the market favors easy answers over paradoxes; we are enjoined to take part in "the real world", and give the people what they want; even if what the people want bears no reflection on the reality of what ultimately is. Nevermind that, in a Golden Age, an aphorist capable of distilling hours of deep thought into a terse and paradoxical statement would be accorded a place of honor and priviledge... We are enjoined to live in the world as it is, and not as we would like it to be (or as it ought to be), regardless of the measure of compromise such "living" would demand.

We are social beings. And, as I noted above, all civilizations have developed some method of mutual dependence, but, never in the history of the world has there been a system so elaborate and complex as the one we have today. The better part of history is populated with civilizations which were relatively simple and laid back. Today, there are still a few rare, well-preserved, out-posts of such civilization, though we are often encouraged not to even think of them as "civilized". In these few, small communities, what we see the people valuing most are things which cannot be easily mass-marketed, packaged, advertised, and sold. In fact, to do so would probably detract from the value possessed by such things. In these communities, people are valued, first and foremost, according to who they are, and not what they do. This is a concept which may, at first glance, appear foreign and puzzling to our "modern" mind. In an indigeonous community, where desires are modest and well-balanced with actual needs, individuals are assigned to those tasks which suit their natural predispositions. The nature of an individual is something God-given, which a society must endeavor to come into alignment with, and not something to be reworked and fashioned so as to support the society, however elaborate its desires and dictates may be. Active individuals are fitted to active occupations and reflective individuals are fitted to reflective occupations. Neither is forced to perform the duties rightfully and naturally belonging to the other, and both freely share the fruits of their labors, seeking no preeminence over the other. There is balance. We, who live in a society which disproportionatly favors the active life, may find such an arrangement rather difficult to comprehend and approve. Nevertheless, it is more closely corresponded to what I think of when I think of "reality".

And if I have a true responsibility to my culture, -- apart from my responsibility to oppose the torture and murder of millions of animals, -- it must be the responsibility to respect and preserve the reflective nature which God has given me, and not to sacrifice it for the sake of "finding my place" at a table where no place has been set for me. I am to be a voice of unashamed reflection, daring the culture to refuse me a place. You might say, "It's a dirty job, but somebody was born to do it." This is why Uranus, the rebel, is uncompromising and unyeilding; because fate places Uranians in situations where these qualities are genuinely necessary and beneficial. Sometimes flexibility and moderation are not called for. Sometimes a man should stand his ground, and say his piece.


Well, that's my take on "the real world", "reality", and "responsibility". I'm well aware that its not the popularly sanctioned view, and I fully expect to hear the same narrow-minded criticisms and cynical, mocking laughter that I've faced down all my life. But I invite anyone who disagrees with my perspective to defend their position with well-reasoned arguments, because, in the end, even the popular view should still have to defend itself. At least, that's what I believe. And to all who listened with an open heart and mind, thank you for listening, sincerely.


Valus

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Yin
Knowflake

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posted November 06, 2009 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Yin     Edit/Delete Message
Such strong will...
You are creating your own reality, Valus.
I believe it.

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Valus
Knowflake

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posted November 06, 2009 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Valus     Edit/Delete Message

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T
Moderator

Posts: 1665
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posted November 06, 2009 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
Nice thoughts Valus.

For me, the real world is what is "behind the scenes". Not so much what we see here. That is not to say what we see here is not important and good for nothing.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

I've always loved that.

"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

I've always loved that quote too.

*EDIT you got the message. Editing out my personal biz/thoughts now.

Enjoy your day!

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Valus
Knowflake

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posted November 06, 2009 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Valus     Edit/Delete Message

Well said.

It's nice to be in agreement.

quote:
The wise ones even warn you not to place trust in people.

And the wisest will warn you not
to place trust even in themselves.

Its scary that we have no choice
but to place trust in ourselves.

quote:

People of the world will try to force you to be "responsible" in their ways. You have a responsibility to yourself, to become the best you can be, done in the ways that you see fit. Us Uranian types couldnt ever adjust or fit in even if we tried. That's one of the hardest, yet most beautiful things about life on this planet. As hard as a path may be, don't you also feel very grateful and blessed to be you?

I like this part best.

quote:
As hard as a path may be, don't you also feel very grateful and blessed to be you?

Yes, I do.

Thank you for helping me
to look on the bright side, T.


God Bless
and lots of love to you,

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AcousticGod
Knowflake

Posts: 1744
From: acousticgod@sbcglobal.net
Registered: Apr 2009

posted November 06, 2009 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AcousticGod     Edit/Delete Message
Reality is what it is, and it's different for different people.

Most of the post seems like a justification for being a certain way. It's seems to ask for acceptance for deviating from the norm. It's the anti-zen. Instead of accepting all, reject all.

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T
Moderator

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posted November 06, 2009 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
And the wisest will warn you not
to place trust even in themselves.

Yep.

quote:
Its scary that we have no choice
but to place trust in ourselves.

I'm so grateful I can do that. Things would really be scary if not.

Youre welcome, same to you.

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BlueRoamer
Knowflake

Posts: 75
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posted November 06, 2009 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BlueRoamer     Edit/Delete Message
It's your life Valus you can do with it whatever you want, no need to defend or justify it.


A question I might pose is, what is the root of defiance?

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ghanima81
Moderator

Posts: 59
From: Maine
Registered: Apr 2009

posted November 06, 2009 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ghanima81     Edit/Delete Message
That's the impression I got too, AG.

Sadly, it's an idealistic approach in today's society. It would be wonderful for the thinkers to be able to utilize all their energy to merely sit and think, but the thinkers have to eat, clothe, bathe and house themselves and in our society, that takes money. Is the suggestion that these thinkers be supported by others, their contribution to their "tribe" shall we call it, to think?

I see where you are coming from, Valus, and it's a very interesting idea, I just don't see it as being feisable in this world because you are right, there is value placed on skills and contributions to one's society. And who would be the one to assume judgment of how much each thinker was entitled to? Would one thinker live more comfortably in the material sense than another because they provided more thoughts? Is there a scale of value for each kind of thought or idea? This is unfortunately the way our world lives and operates.

To answer the question you posed, I would say for myself, my contributions to my family and our relationships is my reality. Being able to be in the company of those I love and share ideas, love, wisdom, etc., with is the most real thing in my "life". It is my life. The other stuff is just dressing. The feeling I get inside with this love around me, that's real.

Very thought provoking topic, btw. If only it could work out logistically. Maybe it will someday. Definately don't give up on the idea.

*edited to add*

I remember a topic of this same vein from years ago. I can't remember where it is or who started it, but I remember the idea because there is (was?) a community in england in which there was no money. There were many families that lived there and grew all their own food, made their own clothes, etc. I think they did sell things at local shops in order to pay for things they couldn't make, but among them, there was no money. Each member of the community did what they were capable of in order to keep everyone fed and healthy. There were no tv's, video games, computers, etc. Everyone just did what they were best at and all seemed to live quite happily. I don't think it's as extreme as what you may be proposing, but still a pretty cool place if you want to "unplug" from the society that dominates the world today.

-G

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Yin
Knowflake

Posts: 810
From:
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posted November 06, 2009 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Yin     Edit/Delete Message
Ghani, your post inspired me to look up such communities in England. Thank you.

This is what I found. The reference to Tolstoy is something Valus will appreciate. He may also already know about it, I don't know.
http://www.utopia-britannica.org.uk/pages/whiteway.htm

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T
Moderator

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posted November 06, 2009 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
Oh awesome! Let's do that!

This is a site I've browsed many times over the years. There are some very interesting and promising intentional/alternative communities, eco-villages, etc going on and in the works out there.
http://www.ic.org/

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MyVirgoMask
Knowflake

Posts: 1652
From: Bay Area, CA
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posted November 06, 2009 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MyVirgoMask     Edit/Delete Message
I'd say the only responsibility there is, is acceptance of oneself. And leaving oneself BE, and not PICKING oneself apart relentlessly.
That's your responsibility - to stop crawling up your own ass.

And of course there's responsibility to one's own children and family. That's responsibility of a different kind.

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PeaceAngel
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posted November 06, 2009 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message
"Why don't you like me", the boy cried, after punching friends in the face and rejecting virtually everyone and everything. ***sigh***

EDIT: I know I said I wouldn't speak with you, but there's a lot of sadness in here. I've learnt a lot from you about accepting this world and being grateful for it and the people in it and all the things they do that make it possible for me and mine to get on with daily life. I appreciate that. Just in case you read it that way, there's no sarcasm in here. Just one person to another. Which basically is what it's about, I think.

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GypseeWind
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From: Dayton,Ohio USA
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posted November 07, 2009 06:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GypseeWind     Edit/Delete Message
Reality is totally subjective, the same with happiness, IMHO.

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GypseeWind
Knowflake

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From: Dayton,Ohio USA
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posted November 07, 2009 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GypseeWind     Edit/Delete Message
Oops, sorry I didn't back up my theory with proof, but philosophy is a bit tricky to prove. ANYWHO, just saying I think you are a trailblazer, Valus, and you SHOULD do whatever ever you believe is right to defend and promote your beliefs. Freedom of speech and all that.

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Valus
Knowflake

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posted November 07, 2009 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Valus     Edit/Delete Message

Ghani,

What's idealistic is thinking things can go on as they have. We all know changes need to be made, but most of us don't realize how deep those changes need to go. First off, you're missing my point if you think I'm promoting a society where people are essentially valued on their contributions. In my Utopian vision, the question of value doesn't even arise as such. I believe there's easily more than enough to go around, so that everyone may be provided with the basic necessities of a relatively comfortable life. At the moment, we're living in a period of incredible technological capabilities, and, yet, the mismanagement and disproportionate distribution of resources is at such a state, that we can reasonably call this a Dark Age; all the more alarming as we have so much potential at our fingertips and, so, are seemingly responsible for our own condition (i.e. "the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not"). In America, I believe, the statistic is something like: the richest 1% amass over 90% of the wealth. And the vast majority of products are entirely expendable; wastes of natural resources, and of the most valuable resource, human labor. I believe that, if given a choice between idleness and productivity, most people will choose to be actively productive for some period of the day or week, and that, if the indulgence of desires is kept within moderation, and greed is not permitted to serve as the motivating engine behind our entire economic system, we can almost effortlessly produce the goods and services that are needed and that exist within the bounds of modesty. Then, if people want privileges, they can work more, but food and housing and medical care would be rights, already provided for by the law (and by the rational management of society). Imagine all the scientific minds and resources that go into producing the latest brand of "shnoozle poofs" or "blitz cola", including the plastics or whatever the packaging is made of, and the machines that will have to be build, to crease and perforate the package just so, in a way that makes it stand out from other products of its kind. All in the name of capitalism and so-called "healthy competition". It's a joke. We don't need another brand of cola or juicy poofs or whatever, and everybody knows it. So why do we allow the culture to go on as it does? Because the average individual feels powerless to stop, derail, or redirect this runaway train. We all try to make do. We all concern ourselves with the little things, the details, the symptoms. We "do what we can". Well, that's not good enough. If we're going to survive into the next millennium, I really think we're going to have to start to permit radical thinking. The population problem is ridiculous, but I don't know a politician today willing to touch this one, -- for obvious reasons, I suppose. But, if people took responsibility, and if they were made fully aware of the critical nature of the situation, I think, we could solve this problem within two or three generations. But people need to consider radical options. Utopia is imminently possible. The only reason it may be naive or idealistic is not because the resources and the plans are not there, or because people are not inherently good, but, because its so difficult to get politicians and the public to think outside the box -- in other words, because they are already convinced that its idealistic and can't be done. But I'm telling you: If just one sufficiently charismatic individual arose into prominence and passionately and rationally promoted these sorts of ideas, they might have a chance at taking root.


BR,

Check out your response
to my "REFUGE" thread,
for "the root of defiance".


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