A Meditation on Life: Philosopher’s Cramp

No matter how deep my analysis, no matter how clever my arguments, no matter how elegant my syllogisms,…

… I have never been able to reason my way to a meaningful life.

In his vain attempt to analyze the unanalyzable, “the thinker” in me sees complexity where there is none… and thus creates problems where there are none.

In his compulsive need to explain everything, the thinker in me splits things into “manageable” chunks… so manageable that they cannot be put back together again into the integrated whole known as reality.

Whether by stubbornness, arrogance, or cowardice, the thinker persists as if arguing about the truth is superior to witnessing the truth first hand.

But if the thinker is sensitive enough, honest enough, wise enough, “smart” enough, his repeated failures to think his way to understanding will teach him many priceless lessons:

He will learn that the entire universe defies all logic.

He will learn that thinking has its place, but cognition alone is powerless when confronted with the hard problems of existence.

He will learn that even the most impeccable logic in the world will do him no good if he is asking the wrong questions.

He will discover that his intellect alone is too narrow, shallow, and crude to understand the most important things in life.

He will learn that approaching the problems of existence as a thinker alone inevitably leaves him paralyzed by a tangle of paradoxes.

He will discover that knowledge without action is just a pointless self-indulgence.

He will discover that, while he is calculating, interpreting, comparing, arguing, judging, expecting, constructing, categorizing, planning, and ruminating, he is rendered blind and deaf to so many simple truths that are right before his eyes.

He will discover that thinking and consciousness are not synonyms… that there exist many wondrous dimensions beyond the reach of language and logic.

He will learn that life doesn’t have to make sense… that there is nothing to “figure out” in order for him to live with gusto and significance.

And if he has the guts to leave the comfort and safety of his armchair behind, he will discover those secrets of the universe revealed only to the greatest explorers and lovers… so many realities that equations cannot predict, words cannot express, and thoughts cannot think.

Next Meditation: Unnatural Selection

Existentialism Humanism

Frank J Peter View All →

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. ..and you can add this one:

    “The deepest yearning of human beings seems to be a constellation in which the two poles (motherliness and fatherliness, female and male, mercy and justice, feeling and thought, nature and intellect) are united in a synthesis, in which both sides of the polarity lose their antagonism and, instead, color each other.”
    ― Erich Fromm, To Have or to Be? The Nature of the Psyche

    I noted you enjoy him also. I have a number of his quotes on my GoodReads profile, including the two above.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
    ― Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

    “Simplicity, patience, compassion.
    These three are your greatest treasures.
    Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
    Patient with both friends and enemies,
    you accord with the way things are.
    Compassionate toward yourself,
    you reconcile all beings in the world.”
    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

    “But a map is not enough as a guide for action; we also need a goal that tells us where to go. Animals have no such problems. Their instincts provide them with a map as well as with goals. But lacking instinctive determination and having a brain that permits us to think of many directions in which we can go, we need an object of total devotion, a focal point for all our strivings and the basis for all our effective – not only our proclaimed – values. We need such an object of devotion in order to integrate our energies in one direction, to transcend our isolated existence, with all its doubts and insecurities, and to answer our need for a meaning of life.”
    ― Erich Fromm, To Have or to Be? The Nature of the Psyche

    I truly respect and admire your intellectual skill, and I enjoy how you can see both sides of the coin in your own pocket.

    Peace x


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