It seems to me that the nature of man is replete with a certain stasis of anxiety which leads to innumerable problems. The basis for this appears to be founded upon unfulfilled desires and the potential for loss of those being fulfilled. Possessions of humans are kept tucked away behind a personal citadel bound by locks and walls. These possessions are seen as belonging to the me and thus produce discontent.
Possessions come in two forms; material and memorable. The material are obvious and the accumulation of them and desire to possess more are essentially termed ‘consumerism’ and ‘greed’ respectively. I will not delve into this realm of possessions as it is familiar territory to nearly all and admonishments against materialism are ubiquitous among many philosophies. It is sufficient to say that an objective analysis of our behaviour surrounding material possessions would reveal a basis for much of the discord we experience in life. One need only look to the basis for divorce which regardless of how it is couched -- spending, working, lack of spontaneity -- really get down to management of material possessions. People fare no better when it comes to the children. They are viewed as property whose time is to be possessed by the parents upon a negotiated agreement or an often arbitrary judicial rendering.
Marriage can be both a material and memorable possession. Ethologically I find these to be the cause of marital strife. A marriage that treats a spouse as a material possession leads to conflict. The liturgy of marriage almost makes material possessiveness a certainty. The language of marriage -- the marital bed, your spouse -- embodies exclusiveness by prohibitions of access by or to others. Shared events between spouses be they carnal, intimate, or nurturing are pleasurable. The desire to maintain this pleasure or have it available on-demand results in the maintenance of memorable possessions. This in turn promotes hostility. One may find a person that can contribute to a fulfilling life but deny this to the self based upon the possessive rubric of marriage. In my high school days I found myself fulfilled by my dearest woman friend who I proclaimed would eliminate war if every man had a wife as she. While her husband was gone I was there. A mattress covered by sheets atop a wood frame was just that to me. It was a place of comfortable repose where we shared intimate moments without thought of the connotations expressed by the possessiveness of marriage. Following my divorce I spent much time in the company of married or similarly committed women often fulfilling their desires not met by the marriage. Usually these were in the absence of the husband although one woman sometimes came out and slept with me in the living room when she got pissed off at him. He was fulfilled by the marriage and had no fear of her leaving him which led to little objection. Other experiences were met by the threat of physical violence which was based on the potential loss of continuing marital experiences -- the memorable possessions.
The memorable possessions I feel are a greater source of discontent which is largely ignored from a perspective of their contributions to the genesis of marital discord. Superficially it can be said that one was disappointed because an unexpected car repair depleted the savings for a winter vacation. I contend that it is not the missed vacation that produced the dissatisfaction and glumness that followed. Rather it was the memory of that unrealized vacation.
Memorable possessions cover both the past and potential future. Wanting to go to Florida for vacation and relax on the beach is a memorable possession. One need never have done this in the past to possess the memory of it. We can imagine what it would be like to escape the brutal cold realities of Indiana during the winter [or whatever locale and time you may be in] for the sereness and warmth of the Florida coast. We can imagine or have experienced time off of work, away from home, relieved of the commensurate obligations. When we implant these thoughts into our mind as something we desire to do a memorable possession has been created. Likewise, recalling a time during marriage when we took the children to the beach in Florida and longing for that sense of marital satisfaction and pleasure is a memorable possession.
Desire for what we do not have -- envy -- which is to be avoided is an axiomatic condition. What I am doing now is what my intentional actions have directed that I do. Thus, at any moment I am doing what I have delivered upon myself and should therefore be satisfied. The years past where my son was with his mother and I saw him but a few times a year were unsatisfactory at first and produced great angst. Acceptance that the condition which existed is what exist as the one realization of all potentials tends to mollify the discord for desiring a different outcome. What exists today is the way it is and I can do nothing to change that. It is outside my circle of influence. This is not to say that I should make no effort to bring about change for which potential future is realized. Basing this change upon a logical conclusion rather than an emotional quest reduces the likelihood of disappointment. This is because the world evolves according to structured operations. It is much easier to dismiss an outcome as being the result of the certainty of forces than it is as being against my emotional needs.
I avoid having my photograph taken, I deplore being recorded on video for review, and don’t keep a diary or journal. First, I like to remember my life as I felt it happened not necessarily as it did happen. Second, and most important, is that I want to experience life on a daily basis. I have no desire and see no benefit in re-experiencing what has already happened. Likewise I find custom, tradition, and routine equally offensive to my sense of living.
Latent shaping of our behaviour comes from extant memory without conscious retrieval. Thus, we can be said to not possess memory which leads to yearning, mourning, or desire but still have fulfillment in the experience of the memorable event. It also has an impact upon us as environmental shaping. The wide range of reactions that people have to the same event is the result of temperament shaped, in part, by individual experiences. This is not to say that recollection of the past is inappropriate. Problems arise when the recollections inhibit living in the now. The objective is tranquility which is achieved through living in the now.
The heterodoxy of self-denial is no more apparent than in corporeal death. Actions taken now are by many framed in the perception of a life ever existing. This has never been demonstrated to be a reality though. This false perception has led many to lead a life that is unsatisfactory because of the avoidance of pleasure. Those who may be ascetic based upon a false ascription then seek a mythical future reward deny themselves the pleasure of living. It is not, however, the ascetic life that impedes pleasure as it is pleasurable in itself. Rather, those who anticipate a future mythical reward are attached to that imagined future rather than living in the now. This is the equivalent of a life spent in mourning.
Without attachment there is no mourning, no sense of loss. Past experiences are just that, past. Those who have died are just that, dead. Marriages that failed are no longer. Fortunes lost are just that, lost. Not being attached to any of those is freedom. Freedom is the opportunity to find pleasure. This is not to say that past experiences were not pleasurable -- they were -- but we should not seek to relive those pleasures. Life has many new pleasures to offer through other people and other experiences. Leave the past behind, live in the now and accept the pleasurable future that will follow.
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