There is a clear deficit of authenticity in the intellectual domain. We see the devastating consequences of this deficit in politics, in arts, in the business domain and of course in academia.
How to fix this:
- don’t read stuff you’re not interesting in!
- write about stuff you’re interested in, before you read stuff on the topic; in other words think without support!
- once you stand on your own feet, check others’ opinions and take
Following this approach you may re-evaluate your initial position a couple of times, but you’ll always remain authentic.
What has lead to the wide spread authenticity deficit in the intellectual domain is the opposite approach:
- pick a profitable domain
- study what the most successful people are saying
- repeat what they say (even how they say it)
The repulsive thing about this is not the approach per se, but how those who propagate this approach usurp decision making positions.
Read more on this (if you’re done your homework) in Critical Thinking?
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Ultimately there are only two ways to live today: to adjust to the majority or to go against the current. On the deepest level there is no third option. It was not always like this, but today it is decidedly so.
Adjusting to the majority means following the path of least resistance. Many people are looking for definitions of modern success. Ultimately all of the definitions come down to this: who can follow the path of least resistance the most effectively; if somebody propagates that this should be done by minimizing self-degradation, perhaps stress and maximizing time spent pursuing one’s passions, perhaps “doing mindfulness” and yoga, one is already considered a spiritual guru.
The starting point of all life and business hacks is based on following the path of least resistance. All alternatives on offer are on the exact same horizontal plane: how to make a career (these are the most pathetic ones), quit 9-5 and launch a company or become an effective freelancer or become an investor and similar. Smart and funny guys propagate this approach, this set-up: James Altrucher, Tim Ferriss and similar. Many, many others. Once the work part is covered, inadvertently they all offer up the exact same plan for play, as well, driven by a mysterious force that makes them believe that they must cover the “play” or “living” part too. Following the path of least resistance offers a sure path to uniformity and pure quantities, to lack of qualities and lack of differentiation.
The domain of distinction, differentiation and authentic qualities is exactly the opposite: following the path of most resistance; this path is taken by a select few, who don’t seek self-justification from the majority or from the “more” in general. This path of course is not a crazy path. It’s not about smashing heads into walls. It’s about using everything available, including tricks, hacks and tools that save time, for one single purpose that is more important than work-life balance or even pure play in exotic locations or play with other luxuries: for the chance to live an authentic life.
While the path of most resistance approach literally goes against everything modern life offers, it is more playful than any of the life hacking champions can imagine and it is also more disruptive than affordable travel to Mars, self-driving cars or blood analysis in seconds.
“….Avoid situations that are below or above you. Identity is dignity:
living according to one’s nature. A craftsman enjoys more dignity than a priest who leads the life of a clerk; a Buddhist monk without possessions, fully dedicated to achieving awakening, is superior to a potential warrior who is judged by shareholders based on quarterly financial indicators; a barber who finds full satisfaction through serving is more superior than a freshly recruited “Buddhist monk” who is walking the streets of New York trying to recruit more people or, feeling“ qualified”, ventures to give relationship advice to women, etc.
There are situations that call forth virtues that are not below anybody and benefit all: heroism, self-sacrifice, loyalty (to factors of superiority, be it human or ideological). We all must respond to these….”
“…The examples of the knights nicely illuminate how observation was meant in general in an environment that wanted the Truth, preferred the real, and promoted the honest. When observation is made in context of the self, anomalies become clear. An honorable person, for example, detects the slightest signs of devious intentions, often before a word is uttered.
Perhaps it’s a good idea to show also some other concrete details on other levels. If the vocational aspect of a person is wealth creation for the community (vaisya) he will easily see through machinations for robbing the community for self-gain. Trying to sell inferior quality raw materials for somebody whose self is defined by art, by perfection through the ritualistic creation of artifacts, would be an impossible undertaking. Of course, in the estates ruled by knights in the name of justice, such attempts rarely happened.
Today the situation is obviously different; the environment is corrupt: it doesn’t want the Truth, it prefers the delusional and promotes the crooks. People with identity, with a clear sense of self, can still see clearly, but acting means going against the current, against the blind. This is why we decided to start with identity when talking about observing things in front of us.
The problem is not information overflow or lack of information, but lack of identity or people being in the wrong role. To reach back to the Hindu terminology of castes, it’s quite visible that chandras or shudras run companies and government administrations, practically unable to recognize the most elemental cause and effect relationships.
What does it mean that people without identity can’t see? It means that they’re doomed to think without context and thus without “tools”, like style for example (the quality of appearance), an obvious factor when it comes to looking at something. People without identity are completely unreliable when it comes to contextual questions: they confuse the repulsive with the desirable. “
At least aiming at controlling it is crucial.
What does it take to control anything? To reach a level that is above what needs to be controlled. On the level of the conditioned self it is not possible to control anything; at least not long term. To reach that level one needs to be aware of his identity and his supra individual Will and subordinate his conditioned self to it.
One also needs to possess a will to inner power. In lack of such an ambition one finds nothing extraordinary in being possessed by any emotions and suffers them sheepishly. When one realizes that being overcome by emotions one hasn’t evoked himself means being possessed by them and that in turn means that one is not being oneself, one has the only legitimate motivation to control emotions: the motivation to assert oneself. What is the context of asserting oneself? Rulership of course; rulership over powers. We only possess powers we can rule. All this is helped by the right views, as the Buddhist doctrines emphasize when they list the major obstacles for self-realization.
The right views are of course solipsistic.