On The Greatest Possible State
June 13, 2019
The two modes of existence: activity and passivity. But is a passive man, always a poor man? Does a rich man ever fully embrace the joy of stillness? It seems I, like many, desire to be a rich man, but how do I know I am not already rich? Consider the imagination required for the most simple yet critical invention of a “screw”. How with wondrous creations like this, could I not already live in the richest of times. Perhaps I don’t desire to be rich, but rather desire a perceived fruit of riches: happiness. I may consider happiness as a vacuity of problems that monetary wealth will allow me to nurture and enjoy. But how do I know that I am not happy now? I don’t. But I have an inclination that I am not, as there are several nagging questions ringing in my ears.
What is a good life?
How do I live a good life?
Am I presently living that good life?
If not, how do I move closer to that perceived state of a good life?
But, when I drill to the copper wire, I see I don’t have an immediate problems in front of me now. That this problem of “good life” has been manufactured.
A penetrating realization — nature abhors a vacuum and I am creating a problem for myself to conquer due to lack of necessity. Nietzsche points towards this addiction to activity and problems:
“Main deficiency of active people. Active men are usually lacking in higher activity-I mean individual activity … Active people roll like a stone, conforming to the stupidity of mechanics. Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men.”, HATH 283
So, I see that I (“ego”) am the “problem” creating all the “problems”. Internalizing this mantra I prepare to rid myself of “ego” and scale the summit opposite to material wealth: spiritual wealth. I seek gurus who maintain that I become content with a “desireless” existence.
But, what is the root of these guru’s higher authority in achievement of spiritual wealth?
How do I know such an existence will be “better”?
Perhaps even more pressing:
What is the nature of the conflict which I am still trying to solve by pursuing a “path of enlightenment” in this domain?
The nature of the conflict in both domains is that I believe I know of states of existence which are more “positive” than the one I am presently in. In seeing this I would like move “up” to these states.
But, the resulting question is:
How do I know these higher states are better than the current one?
There must exist a judge, internally, who is ranking and qualify these states as higher or lower.
But how do I know that the judge is correct in his or her evaluation?
Surprisingly, I don’t, I simply take the result verbatim.
What is the difference then, between Me (I) and the judge? Is there any?
There is none … so I must be the judge. Returning to the previous question reworded:
How do I know my judgement that there are states better than this one, is correct?
Clearly, I have experienced states which are “better” than the present one. But, circling back with emphasis:
How do I know that these judgements are correct?
I cannot, unless, I create a new judge in my mind, who’s duty is to decide whether the old judge’s conclusions about experience are correct. However, I cannot trust the conclusions of the new judge because I now need to ask for evidence of the new judge’s correctness, which will lead me, by induction, to third, fourth, fifth and an infinite number of judges. Call this the “Higher Self Problem”.
To restrict the problem space, I set out that there can be only one judge. Because of this, at root, I cannot know whether I (the judge) am correct or not.
So, if I cannot know whether I am correct or not, why should I trust the conclusion that there exists a better state than the current one?
I should not. Therefore, if there can be no valid way to determine a “better” state it follows that the present state is the greatest of all possible states of being.