Diebert van Rhijn wrote:But what would happen, without imagination and belief though, practically, to people and the society?
There would necessarily have to be an explosion in the popularity of wisdom and the degree to which people are wise, such as the Buddha's wisdom, to replace old beliefs, very unlikely of course. If this somehow occurred, I would expect people and society to flourish, albeit in a very different fashion which might not look like current concepts of flourishing. Feel free to ask my opinion on what an ideal society would be like, including morality and how people spend their time, but that's just speculation.
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
Therefore any conversation, any opinion, any mission to change this or that, is as silly as it's over-arching in its meaning. It's all dependent how one steps into it then?
I'm reminded of this quote:
"There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands."
In my view, whichever side a wisdom seeker leans too heavily toward, is the one that ought to be discouraged and discredited.
All people are already caught between those sides. It's what makes up their "reality", which is just an intricate web between the unknowable, untouchable truths and the never-ending contradictions of their experiences.
You talk like there's no path possible in the wilderness because in your experience, one is bound to get lost for good?
I view metaphysical conceptualizations, theories, and conventional truths, as secondary in priority to ultimate truth.
Almost like the relevance of comfort, compared to food and water, for one's survival. I'll get to the why in a minute, but to me, all that matters in this life is getting as many healthy decades as you can, and focusing them on wisdom, contemplation, discussion, and meditation, sharing all that, and making relevant choices based on the best one has got so far at any given time. As you said, deciding on each turn which is the way forward.
Well I've spoken rarely about mediation here and I'm not going to start now. But I'll say it seems like a natural thing for awareness to "meditate" in some fashion. It's almost too mundane to speak of! For me it seems odd to conceive of it as some method or way to truth. Then having power naps could be as important. So I'm not elevating it I guess, it's just a given that good minds function in certain ways to become 'good' in the first place. Meditation is how it already functions, not something to add on or learn.
It's true, it is a natural thing for awareness to 'meditate' in some fashion
. But it's a bit like how it's natural that we do exercise compared to intentionally going to work out, the guy going to the gym is still going to develop much more muscle. Meditation in my view is the gym compared to the playground.
One does not naturally focus on developing concentration while still for great lengths of time, unless it's on a task or form of entertainment. Meditation differs here by being focused on truth, or one's own "mind".
Contemplation definitely occurs naturally, whether we are walking around or going about a busy day, or sleeping or taking a power nap, it's going on all the time as you say, naturally, but often in a very undirected and altogether 'messy' way. Another analogy, meditation here would be the difference between trying to put together a speech in ones brief thoughts as one travels around, compared to taking a seat and writing without distraction. Philosophizing without too much distraction would be another way to describe contemplation.
Clear verbal thought occurs somewhat, but we've all heard the saying "It's so loud I can barely hear myself thinking", is it some absolute truth? No. Is it a mundane phrase? Yes. It seems you discount this sort of experiential truth without justification. The fact is that this saying reflects something very real, unmistakable, shared by all. So the difference in this case would be, turning off the music and tv, being still, developing clear verbal thought, perhaps even 'directing' it at dark places, as opposed to a shaky all over the place thinking that is barely cognized, sort of like unconscious thought or thought during that power nap.
And those are only a few examples of 'types' of meditation as described via my own experience, just because the subject is one that alludes clear definition, doesn't mean it ought to be disregarded, and I think you've made a grave mistake by not taking 'classical' meditation more seriously. I understand the tendency tho, at first it can seem like no progress at all is possible, that there's nothing to be had in such activity. Now I see it almost as an entire universe to be explored and understood from many different angles, all the tools honed by yourself alone, all the objectives decided by insight. What is being explored is truth. Questions like free will for example can be 'looked at', 'investigated', by 'looking at' ones own thoughts arising. Creating a satisfying description of such things when speaking to someone looking to poke holes in it becomes impossible though, because even to talk about one aspect of it requires separation of categories. This being "thoughts", that being "awareness", this being "imagined", this being "insight", that being "lack of focus", this being "concentration", and so on. It's an ineffable task. For that reason one could say it requires a level of faith, but that's not how I see it. Something a bit instinctual perhaps, mystical insight, call it what you will. I understand the object and the insight all being reality itself, and in that way, it is sort of like a true science, a true investigation into what is. After all, the prevailing view is that it's simply causality at play, and there's no ego/self doing any true directing of attention at all. When poking holes in philosophy, there is no end, this very conversation can be cast under the weight of too much doubt or skepticism.
The major reason behind meditation, contemplation, discussion, etc, as I understand it, is that it is the only path forward.
Technology will not ensure freedom from suffering, or one's future 'fate'. (As I've mentioned, I expect and reason out an existence which continues beyond bodily dissolution.)
Ignoring the importance of life and death in favor of sexual desire, vain pursuits, politics, holidays, or entertainment, will not do that either.
Only understanding reality and the self, only developing good karma (habit-energy, example being a pure mind, another example being developing concentration) is the way to "store up treasures in heaven" (benefiting one's future existence or progress toward perfect wisdom), whatever that would be, if there is such a thing.
I feel as if I've barely scratched the surface of this 'exploration', but it is the path which my reasoning has led me toward currently, and it is the understanding which seems by far the most logical and consistent with reality, in my view.