Clear Obscurity of the Mind

by CT on November 13, 2014

I am a student of Eastern Philosophies and strive for clarity, so that these sources of wisdom are not portrayed in the West (or anywhere else) as mysterious, occult practices and may instead be adopted with confidence. So sometimes wonder why it is from the East itself that we receive obscure, unhelpful notions which do more to confuse those in the West who sincerely want to learn. Here is an example.

Vedanta ( @SwamiDoseDaily ) tweeted at 0:39 AM on Thu, Nov 13, 2014: “You lose control over your mind because of the presence of too many desires. Desires force the mind to find fulfilment in the external world.”

There are three problems with this (allowing for a level of imprecision caused by the extremely limited Twitter format):

a) The sentence seems to set as a goal the “control” of the personal Mind, but because the Mind is external to the person and it is purely relational, this is a target impossible to obtain.

b) How do you quantify desires? There are desires embedded within desires. Desires that are weak and those that are strong. Desires that fan out into multitudes of other desires. Even from a purely descriptive level of the phenomenon of human desires it makes no sense to speak about “too many desires.” I thought that the East instead thought that it was not a matter of the quantity but of the quality of desires. So, in fact the goal would be to see the void within the desires otherwise taking the desires as something real amounts to being a prisoner of them.

c) It is also nonsensical to say that “desires force the mind to find fulfilment in the external world.” My readings of Eastern philosophies indicate contrariwise that the so-called “external world” is a product of the externally-thrown person and hence the objects of the Mind are not facts-of-the-world, but always objects-of-desire. Nevertheless desire precedes the objects and not the other way around.

Summing up: if we take Vedanta’s guidance on this point (other tweets have been enormously wise) and if we are Westerners trying to approach Eastern thinking, we end up with some intractable position, where the “quantity of desires” is a problem and there are some “external objects” which we crave to satisfy these desires. The Western translation of this looks no different to a million self-help books which advocate “moderation” and “detachment” so to better continue the oblivion of Being.

Let’s be clear for once: those “objects” we crave are entirely functional and dependent on the nature of the Western and Westernised Mind (the Rootless Mind) and do not have entity in themselves. The problem then is not to relinquish objects of moderate desires (to have “less” desires) but to take the Fundamental Position. The goal (if I am not wrong) is not to control the Mind, but to see through it.

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