(About a 3 minute read)
I once had an extraordinary young friend, Harriet, whom I have written about here. She was clearly a genius, as well as a rather decent enough person in general, but when she was in her late teens or early twenties, she harbored a rather peculiar notion about love.
Harriet saw but one love — or kind of love — between sex partners as true. That is, she believed giggly romantic love was the only true love for such couples.
Of course, the problem with that is romantic love in almost all cases ends quickly enough. Perhaps lasts a year or so on average, with two and a half years being an extreme.
After a time, you see, the body naturally shuts down production of certain brain chemicals that produce some of the effects of romantic love (such as PEA, which produces giggling in response to the presence of ones beloved), and also seems to shift around other things — such as which circuits are being used to relate to ones beloved. The net effect is romantic love eases into mature love.
But for Harriet, the end of romantic love was the end of love itself, the only true love itself.
Rather strange thing for a genuine genius to believe, but even geniuses are subject to their hopes messing with their insights and understandings.
Good and bad/evil do not strike me as intrinsic qualities of reality. Although some believe them to be such, I myself do not think that things are by their nature good or bad or evil. To me, these are categories that we ascribe to things.
We say, for instance, that someone is doing good, or that someone else is an evil person. But it would be a strange world if those were intrinsic properties of actions or of people.
For instance, we know from experience that the same person is quite capable of doing both good and bad/evil in this world. But how would that be possible if they were by nature good or bad/evil?
Again, we also know of times when a good act has brought about a bad or evil result, but how could that be possible if these things were intrinsic properties of actions?
I can see harboring core values. In fact, I would not want to be afloat in this world without my core values. But core beliefs?
Shouldn’t we wear our beliefs — even our most favored and firmly held beliefs — shouldn’t we wear them lightly? Shouldn’t we hold them no more than tentatively until some better belief or explanation comes along?
After all, how can we be certain we will not discover something tomorrow that makes nonsense of our currently most cherished notions?
It seems to me we tell each other the same cautionary tales over and over — tales like those I have just told regarding good and bad/evil, and holding our beliefs tentatively.
We tell those tales over and over, yet those of us who “get” them don’t seem to need the reminders and those of us who don’t get them, most likely never will get them.
I have a small handful of material dreams, ambitions, goals — whatever you wish to call them. But so far as I know, I have no spiritual dreams, ambitions, or goals. None at all left in me.
Sometimes I say I do, but that’s more me being conversational than annoyingly precise.
I see such goal-setting as futile when it comes to spiritual things. For instance, if I set the goal of being kinder, how would I measure my progress in such a way as to avoid deluding myself one way or the other?
And as for more major goals — such as “attain enlightenment”, I would think setting a goal for such a thing to presume I knew what it was in at least some significant way.