Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Know yourself

Most important question is “what are the superstitions that subjugate our spirit and body?”

What we desire are NOT what we lack or imagine that we are lacking to satisfying our life fulfilment: Our desires are the effects of our efforts that led to what we are and who we are; our desires are never the cause for our feeling of missing anything.  For example, when we desire a home it is because we feel the need for more comfort and security to go ahead with our drive to perfecting our happiness and contentment.

When desires are imitations of what other people claim to desire then, we are not acquiring what our personal nature requires and wants:  Our spirit is subjugated by external factors that we failed to control their affects.  We didn’t invest the necessary effort to “knowing ourselves”.

We are in essence constantly in a state of preparing to undertake an action or planning an activity in order to preserving our life and increasing the capital of survival as long as possible. Our essence is to developing our power for conserving our potentials to live and searching for what is useful to our body and mental development capacities.

What is essential to us is what our desires produce in reality to develop our nature.  We learn whatever is necessary to our natural conservation.  Thus, life is defined as a qualitative perception of what we feel as joy and sadness and we interact with our community according to our level of natural development.

We are not pure spirit to resemble God-like attributes and we are not pure body mechanical object that can be altered and be transformed to another specie. It is not possible to subjugate the body to obeying outside moral constraints.  Virtue is to acting according to our own nature.  Conjoint development of body and mind, as a unit,  is the natural inclination of mankind.  Weakening the body will never liberate the spirit and quell our natural passions for survival.

Knowing yourself can be reduced to the essential knowledge: “What external factors (in nature, society, institutions…) are altering and influencing our real natural desires for self-preservation and development?”

No, the body is not commanded by the spirit and neither the spirit by the body:  There is no separation but unity for doing the necessary efforts to live, to developing our natural capabilities in order to enjoying life and be happy.  The potentials of what the body is able to accomplish are not fully known; how a sane and well-conserved body can affect our mental potentials is still vastly undiscovered.  The kinds of feats of a sleep-walker are not fully accounted for.

You neglect the well-being of your body and your spirit is negatively affected. You neglect exercising your cognitive and emotional capabilities and your body is negatively affected. A general body fatigue is the interaction of afflictions of the body and mind; a depressed mood is the interaction of adverse influences on the body and mind.

Our natural personality is created by the combined efforts we exert on our body and mind.  The environment and society are external factors that constantly interact with our essence to live and form who we are.  Inequality in aptitudes among individuals are closely related to our constant efforts to interacting with the environment, people, and the changes in perceptions that we form of our potentials, of nature, and of the universe.

Three main characteristics are to be retained:

First, the body is not a simple mechanism animated by external factors:  The body has a dynamic inner vital energy that is conscious of its existence.

Second, the body interactions with the external world are both-ways actions and reactions.  It is because of these interactions that the spirit progresses and develops.

Third, the body has its internal qualities and the power to be and to act.  It is because “who I am and who I became” that I can acquire new habits, new skills, and new comprehension.

Man is an integral part of nature:  First, man has nothing exceptional to placing him above nature and he is devoid of any free-will independent of his natural living essence.  Second, man is in constant trade with his biological and social environments (cultural and natural).  Third, man shares in the  infinite power that characterizes nature and thus, man is endowed with sizable amount of power.

Free men do not need rewards, stimulants, or marble statues to obeying laws coinciding with individual’s vital natural  rights for happiness and opportunities to live in dignity.  Joy, sadness, and desires are the three main affects that drive all the other feelings and passions.  Nature is the same everywhere and it follows the same process regardless of what and how man want to change in it.

The wise man comprehends the universal rules and laws of nature and follows their virtues.  The power of an individual is limited and is superseded by external forces.  We don’t have an absolute will to adapt to what is beyond our power to act upon.  Our intelligence, the best part of ourself, will be fully satisfied and contented as it keeps within nature’s restrictions for drastic changes.  We cannot over indulge in eating or drinking without suffering their consequences.  Whatever we do within our power we can support equally well and our conscious is at peace because we acted within the range of our possibilities and nature’s limitations on u”s.

“People are submitted to affections such as feeling of pity to those in misfortune; feeling envious of those happy; we tend to be more vengeful than compassionate or forgiving;  We want people to conform to our positions, approve what we like, and reject what we hate.  Consequently, we want to be the first among all men.  The glory of the victor is to have vanquished his opponent rather than obtaining anything of value.  All these tendencies are the consequence of not focusing developing our natural essence and passively reacting to external factors”

“There are two founding principles:  Refusing tyranny and refuting superstitions. It is impossible for an individual to abandon his natural rights.  In order for a citizen to obey laws he must retain the legitimacy of keeping his power intact to resisting tyranny and defending his vital natural rights.”

“A happy individual has the right to fighting all kinds of superstitions.  Only an envious person takes pleasure of my impotence and my sufferings.  There are no Gods or persons who consider tears of sufferings, crying of pains and humiliation, fears of everything in society and nature are virtues to hang on.  The greater is the joy, the greater the perfection of our passions.  This is my rule and my resolution: I will eat and drink in moderation of whatever pleases me.  I will partake in cultural activities that I like.  I will participate in games that I love to do and that do not harm others.”

“A talented ruler gives the impression to the citizens that they are living according to their free will, that they can increase their wealth, and have opportunities to acceding to honors.  Erecting status and lavishing honors and rewards to loyal citizens and parading them as first among men will degrade their characters and performance by inflating their pride and driving them to laziness. Equality among citizens is reduced and so is common freedom and collective liberty.”

Context of  the period:  Bento was born in current Netherlands (Holland), lived and died there.  Holland had acquired its independence: It kicked the Spanish army, thwarted a British navy landing, and forced a French expeditionary army during Louis XIV to retreat.  At the age of 24, Bento was ex-communicated by the Sephardi Jews who immigrated from Portugal to Amsterdam: He believed that God is a philosophical concept; when the body dies so does the spirit.   He had to live far from Amsterdam and earn a living, polishing lenses for microscopes, telescopes and corrective glasses.  Holland was the wealthiest nation in Europe and enjoyed the largest merchant navy. Spinoza was the contemporary of Descartes, Thomas Hobbes,Isaac Newton, Leibniz, Huygens, Galileo, and the famous Dutch painters such as Vermeer, Velasquez, Van Ruysdael, Rembrandt, …

Note: Yes, the individual spirit dies with the body but it is the spirit we had communicated and disseminated while alive that keeps mankind evolving.  disseminate happiness and joy:  That is our natural disposition.

I read many times in different books that “The purpose of life is living.”  My earliest first interpretations were “enjoy and embrace whatever life carries you to do or experience, (sort of stoic attitudes)”  After pondering that interpretation, I reasoned: “What is living if not making a sense of life?” 

I hence reached a far more interesting alternative:  “Life is a means to carrying on whatever meaning you want to make of life while still alive.”

You may change decisions and passions at any time, and life would care less and will not impress any judgement upon you:  Life is meant to serve your desires and obey your “seventy-seven decisions” per day.

Living has many unsettling requirements (pissing, excreting, sweating, washing…) that forces you to change directions many times a day.  Making sense of life is recovering from the maintenance tasks and redirecting the frequent diverging roads toward your intended main decisions of your daily plan of actions.

One decision may give you remorse and you want to stay in bed, a vegetative; you refuse to act, move, speak, or communicate with anyone. Life has no problem with this decision to play dead; but it has to maintain itself and you have to go and get moving.  Either you decide to die in your dirt (that is also a courageous decision) or you get up and start acting, one step at a time.  Life care less; you want to die? Life is your obedient servant and would follow you desire.

“Know yourself” means: “Maintain your life at the level commensurate to your plan of actions.  Know your limitations and your potentials, body and mind, and improve. You over force life and it will fail you at any time.”   It is no secret that when you keep your body and mind fit then, you can expand your range of decisions and set the bar higher than usual.  Thus, when you decide to get fit, it means you are planning for a higher energy requirements of decisions to redirect the “sense of your life”, otherwise, why the bother?

Your only constraint, to a fulfilling healthy servant as life, is becoming expert mechanics in the maintenance requirements of life.  Life is a car to be oiled, repaired, and supplied with energy.  Car has no spirit:  It is your desire and decision to reaching destination faster, your desire has provided the spirit to designing and manufacturing a car or airplane.

Life is ever obliging when you appreciate its vast potentials and appreciate the need for careful and loving maintenance requirements.  The more actions (physical and mental) you put life through, the more efficient are your decisions and more timely the opportunities.

Life maintenance is the most time-consuming of all tasks.  Either you become expert mechanics or life will force you, against your will, for long period of recovery.  Sir, life has no intrinsic meaning; it is your meanings of life that need to be lived.  You maintain life or you be maintained; you choose.

Hegel wrote: “No one can claim to be free unless he is ready to confront death.”  I assume that Hegel started from the premise that this free man knew and experimented  how to live. Let me put it simply:  Any desire that is good for your well-being (example physical or mental health) is an excellent desire.  Voltaire joked: “I decided to be happy:  It is good for my health.”

This attitude is a win-win situation.  You may work hard for a good health but this is no guarantee or sufficient condition for developing healthy desires.  You have first to desire and then, keeping healthy becomes part of a mechanism that can be nailed down and maintained efficiently.

You were graced with life; get on with the maintenance part and let life serves your passions and desires.




March 2023

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