“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.”  Franz Kafka

 

 

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Yes, the darkness into which all things proceed.  We have lights on everything else.  Let’s spend some time on darkness.

For me the shadows started with an inner monologue between Me and my philosophical side years ago.  A paraphrased example:

Are you Human or Animal?

Human.

Then why do you compare yourselves as Animals and not Humans?

I don’t do this.

Prove it.  Describe yourself.

I’m a white male from  Virginia.  I am tall, broad in the shoulders and broader in the waist.

An Animal?

No, I’m a Human.

Describe a Human then, not an Animal.  

I did.

No.  You described a physical being.  You described pigment and hormones and genitalia.  

Can I not use these to describe an Animal of which you claim you are not?

Yes.  You can describe an Animal using those words.

Then describe the Human.

Darkness…

This led to all manner of philosophical and religious journeys in my Life. Everywhere I looked I saw Animals comparing themselves to Animals.

I’m a Black man.

I’m a white woman.

I’m Chinese.

I’m Gay.

I’m Republican.

Animal descriptions one and all.

I believe being offended is a choice because offended means displeasure, anger, frustration.  All of these things are a choice the Human Mind makes.

But what if you see yourself as an Animal only?

What if you are nothing more than your physical characteristics?

If I view myself as a physical stereotype (Animal) there are two logical outcomes:

1.) I see other people as Animals (physical stereotypes)

2.) I am separating my Animal from my Human side.

 

In overreaching terms, the goal of Philosophy is to isolate the Animal, focusing only on the Human.

You are not a physical being only.  You have a Mind.  Your thoughts can not be touched, held or seen by others.  Yet they exist.  Language, also, can not be touched, held or seen by others.  You are seeing pixels on a screen or ink on paper.  Letters exist only as recognized symbols representing certain meanings to your Mind.

But I know I have thoughts!

Yes, but others do not know you have them.  They are 100% yours to control, reveal and change.

But I can read!  Language exists!

Pick up a word and hold it in your hand.  What does the letter A taste like?  What is its smell?  What color is the letter A in its original form?  Show me the Physical proof of language?

I can hear someone speak.

Sounds interpreted by the Mind based on definitions provided through the sense. Hold the Sound and tell me its weight.

There are no more Human ideas than Mind and Language.  For me, this means how we use our Mind, how we use our Language, reflects our understanding of what it is to be a Human not Animal.

Those who see this tend to respond differently to life.

This is who I want my Human side to be.  I want to dissolve my connection to the Animal, as much as possible, so as to develop the Human understanding I find lacking not only in myself, but others.

Stoics, Victor Frankl and more recently Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have all postulated the following.

Between Action and Reaction, there is the Human Mind’s ability to choose a response.

What is it then if one doesn’t know or refuses to use this ability to respond?

What if there is an Action and then an unconscious, spontaneous response?

Would we say that person is behaving like an Animal or a Human?

When I seek physical pleasure, what am I?  Animal or Human?

When I avoid pain, what am I? Animal or Human?

When I become angry at external things, Animal or Human?

Is the future not external to me?  Is the past not external to me?

Why then do I Hope towards the future or fear towards the future?

Why am I trying to positively control (Hope) towards the future?

Why am I trying to negatively control (Fear) towards the future?

 

I look around and see Animals everywhere.  The TV News tells me to offended, afraid, hopeful, concerned or happy based on my Animal presence.  You are an angry white male.  You are a Southerner.  You are married.  You are a Conservative.  You are a Father.  You are Tall.  You are Fat.  You are Heterosexual.  You are a Drinker.  You are Funny.

Animal. Animal. Animal. Animal.  Animal.  All descriptions of either physical state of my body, physical geography of my body or a social state in which my body is currently found.

School and books reinforce this notion.  Political parties thrive on our Animal divisions and their supporters are emotionally invested in maintaining the lie of categorizing people into Animal traits.

I have what is called White flesh but is a Human nothing but pigment?

Is a Human Mind controlled by the genitalia?

You will die.  Your skin will rot and fall away like leaves on a dying tree.  Worms and vermin will consume your genitals. The chemicals and hormones with which you categorize yourself will dry up or dissolve into the dirt.

So be it.  This will happen to you as it has happened to millions before you and an infinite number after you.

If this is the destiny of all Flesh, of all Skin, or all Gender–why are you viewing yourself in only these terms?

Some believe the Mind can live without the body.  It only needs Oxygen delivered by some means or another.  But can the body function without the Mind?  Would your heart pump without an autonomic system directed by the Mind?  No.  Your body would die without your Mind but your Mind may outlive the body!

So why describe yourself as an Animal describes itself?

Society enforces, reinforces, doubles-down, reminds, cajoles, tricks, uses guilt and ‘educates’ us into believing our Animal descriptions are the REALITY of all Life.

This division becomes similar to an 0uroboros, one decision feeding on another until a cyclical process is developed with no end in sight.

Am I Animal or Human?

Once I can describe the Human only, leaving the Animal to its temporary world, maybe the ouroboros will die for lack of food.

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