Photo by Mandee Labelle © 2021
Photo by Mandee Labelle © 2021

Why Survive?

I had a dream around 1997 that contained a revelation, where I saw that saw life as being happiness itself, and a permanent peace that resided within, beyond all thought, and in fact that it’s only an imagination of scary things, like a supposed death, that distracts us us into ignoring reality, or real nature. I saw that we all were living like scared children, controlled by what is basically nothing, a thought.

My intuition led me to study spiritual psychology and philosophy (the teachings of the Self-realized Sydney Banks), explore what happiness really was, make art, garden more, go out into nature, etc… This seeing resulted in the dissolution of my marriage (and a very long journey of discovery), since it leads to totally different emphasis, values, ideas, life decisions, aims, behavior, thinking, feeling… the whole shaboodle. The old scientific, materialistic, neuroscience-based, analytical view of life I’d had, and that my wife had, that we’d shared before, could not maintain itself forever as a way of living, in the face of the intuition of oneness, intelligence, infinity, love, beauty & truth.

What do you think Life is?
Where do you see happiness as coming from?
Who are you, really?

“Why Survive?”

This was a rhetorical philosophical question I posed to my wife at the time – a beautiful, charming, brilliant computer programmer – who often became completely exasperated, frustrated with me for “doing what I want”, doing what made me happy (rather than what she wanted, what was controlled, what led to what she saw as security in the future) – and she expressed the basic conclusion, the absolutely firm belief, formed early in life, cast in stone, never to be questioned, that the purpose of life (and therefore any decision and behavior of mine, hers, ours, or anyone smart) was ultimately related to and about survival.

Yet, we were living in a nice house, with a beautiful dog and lovely multi-level garden in a great city… a paradise really. There was no immediate threat whatsoever. Her answer to my question “Why Survive?” was to scream “Why don’t you commit suicide then!” since to her it seemed that was my logic, given that the only alternative to survival, to her mind, was to not survive!

To me, if you assume the purpose of human life is to survive – which didn’t make any sense to me at a deep, intuitive level – then the answer to the question “why survive?” is to survive, in order to survive, in order to survive … what is called a “reductio ad absurdum” (a method of proving the falsity of a premise by showing that its logical consequence is absurd or contradictory). It is saying we are fundamentally machines, set to automatic, blind and pointless programs, as biologists and authors such as Richard Dawkins claim. And, eventually, I was to see that this view of life – that it is about survival, no if and or buts about it – is without light and vision, a blind view, and is based in fear and the belief in absolute disappearance. It is an ego-based lie (for “ego” substitute “sense of separation”). And while it is true for the appearance of the repetition of bodymind forms and this rhythmic play of life of animals, plants and being a beautiful appearance in this natural universe, it is very far from the whole story:

In what does the story appear?

Are we just survival machines, as science tells us? Merely fancy biocomputers with two arms and legs? Machines whose life is about grabbing as much security and pleasure as we can, by any means necessary, in competition and conflict with others? These views have consequences (internally and externally). Life proved it out too: our lives took very different directions. My experience of life got better and better over the long arc of it (more difficult in the short range, which is natural as things come up and work themselves out, unfold into the light) – more harmonious, simple, free, joyful, inspired, fun, adventurous, serendipitous, beautiful, etc… despite the difficulty of having a total life change that took decades to unfold (and eventually led to meeting Francis and Laura Lucille, where all the dots where finally connected). On the other hand, her life got worse and worse with conflicts, anxiety, stress, serious illness, joblessness, homelessness, etc. (despite my attempts to be loving, helpful, a good example, etc.).

And, according this outlook of our culture, not to mention the academic training I received at the great university, the implications of this Darwinian rat race – for control, power, the satisfaction of desires… the ideal life would be to lock oneself in a secure bank vault and plug yourself into a brain controlling computer that feeds you fantasies and stimulates the reward centers day and night – kind of like Facebook on acid. 🙂


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