Vikshepa Blog

Mental Distractions

13 Apr 2022

2022-04-13 Ibn Arabi

Reflections after reading a paragraph of Ismail Hakki Bursevi's translation and commentary upon Ibn Arabi's "Kernel of the Kernel"

" That is to say, if he has not… drunk the glass of love, and has not found annihilation in the ipseity of God, when he says "He", he will be speaking according to his own conjecture, imagination, understanding and relativity. He brings the Being of God into imagination, and gives it a form. Because he has not divested himself of being and reached Absoluteness. Consequently, he puts God under a condition, according to his conjecture and imagination and draws around him a limit; thereby he will have immanenced Him and invented Him. And thereby he has worshipped a creator which he himself has originated."

This is a perfectly vedantic commmentary, relating to the dangers of false understanding and imagination of the Absolute, and the need for complete self-annihilation (nirvana) before approaching or presuming to be absorbed in the divine essence.

Yesterday I watched the documentary, "The Pirate Bay - Away from Keyboard". The latter phrase is the way, according to Peter Sunde, of saying "in real life", because for those who spend their lives on the internet, the internet is real life. Well, of course it is. But is playing a game real life? Being immersed in a novel, or in TV, like the character in "Being There", or in a hallucinatory drugged state? Or in a psychosis?

It is, actually, just in the same way as what we call reality is engineered by our imagination. Reality is there, but it is warped into something different. For example, we could say that, from a position of higher understanding, the universe is all in sync; in harmony; in a state of cooperation. Whereas, in the consciousness of an ordinary, conditioned individual, there is instead, competition and rivalry. The big fish eat the little fish; entailing the necessity for constant defence against adversity. This is not just a matter of seeing the world a little differently. It is a fundamental difference; a night-and-day difference. So yes, by the measure of reality, it is likely that we are in a state of psychosis. And a person who sees the world according to a different paradigm from our mundane perception of it would be labeled psychotic. And who can say who is right? We only know that owing to the strict behavioural rules of society and of the human-created world, it is difficult for a person who perceives and understands in a completely different way to function.

In such a world, where one has little chance of ever seeing the real outside of our human-created mould, we might just as well live in a fantasy that is provided by television, by the internet, by the game-makers, or psycho-active drugs; so long as is does not interfere too much with our ability to function, for part of the day, in the "away from keyboard" world constructed by human society for the purpose of eking out a livelihood, consuming, procreating, etc.

There is, however, the unfortunate fact that our human activities are destroying the biosphere. Here again, we find that humans have found a way of incorporating concern for the biosphere into their carefully constructed world of illusion. They believe that if they live according to certain constraints, they will minimize the damage. Thus the founders of the Pirate Bay, despite their disregard for other human conventions, incorporated vegetarianism into their lifestyle. It is fairly easy to integrate "environmental awareness" and other values into our carefully constructed fantasy world.

Whatever the outcome of the environmental crisis we are facing, it is likely that the omnipotent and omniscient pan-consciousness behind the world of appearances has long ago taken human activity into account, and that all of our actions take place against the background of this consciousness.

The real question for us, for human beings, is whether we must reconcile ourselves to living always and forever in illusion, or whether we can follow Ibn Arabi in seeking a reality that is not conditioned by imagination?

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