Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily Quote, Monday September 8, 2009.

Good morning everyone,

Back to work and the sun looks like it will be coming up soon for another nice day!

Here is today's quote:

Addiction to Knowledge.

Addiction to knowledge is like any other addiction; it offers an escape from the fear of emptiness, of loneliness, of frustration, the fear of being nothing. The light of knowledge is a delicate covering under which lies a darkness that the mind cannot penetrate. The mind is frightened of this unknown, and so it escapes into knowledge, into theories, hopes, imagination; and this very knowledge is a hindrance to the understanding of the unknown.

To put aside knowledge is to invite fear, and to deny the mind, which is the only instrument of perception one has, is to be vulnerable to sorrow, to joy. But it is not easy to put aside knowledge. To be ignorant is not to be free of knowledge. Ignorance is the lack of self-awareness; and knowledge is ignorance when there is no understanding of the ways of the self. Understanding of the self is freedom from knowledge.

Commentaries on Living First Series p 26

Here is my reflection.

We often think of ignorance as the starting place of knowledge. This is the Western approach, where external knowledge, scientific knowledge, knowledge of how to do things, is more valued than self-knowledge - which is what K is talking about with self-awareness. In this Western view, ignorance can be overcome through education and progress, and this is how knowledge serves as an escape. As long as we are being educated we can avoid self-awareness. This is how we are conditioned from childhood. We learn theories, formulaes, hear inspiring talks, etc. but we don't learn about ourselves.

So if ingorance is lack of self-awareness, is stupidity a failure to change when one is aware of oneself? Is it, indeed, possible to be stupid? Would K believe that one could be self-aware, that one could have an understanding of the whole, the conditioning of the self, the pattern of thought, etc. and yet not be free of it? Can we see the danger of ourselves to ourselves, our role in our own misery, and yet stay as we are? Can seeing not be action? Can we really see the what is and yet not act?

This question of studpidity is interesting. To be stupid could be described as to know what to do, know the right thing to do, and yet not do it. Does K allow for stupidity? Is it enough to be aware? Can awareness alone overcome fear?

Best wishes