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March 12th, 2014

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)


   Mankind is not  as Western economists and philosophers from the 18th and 19th centuries imagined it: essentially competitive, isolated, each one related to others only by the necessity of exchanging the satisfaction of economic and instinctual needs. Pleasure is not  limited to the relief of a tension. Loving-kindness is not  an unreasonable demand, contrary to reality.
   One aspect of mankind is well described by such views, but only one aspect!

   The other aspect is that humans can take 'unreasonable' risks, love 'unknown' strangers (or even not-so-strangers but still fundamentally 'unknown'), step out of 'natural' conventions, explore…
   The other aspect is that humans crave not only for certainty (and the control and exploitation of their world to provide it), but also for expansion, for discovery, for knowledge (even when there isn't an immediate utilitarian application).
   And these moments require fragility, openness and vulnerability… These moments require trusting the world, and another: the 'Other'.
   These moments might be the most 'alive', even though they're when you least recognise 'yourself'! These moments might be the most mindful, as you monitor what's happening but without immediately liking or disliking, neither recollecting a past nor immediately projecting a future… These moments might be life out of the narratives of causality, out of 'should's, out of prejudices and preferences and habits and biases! These moments might be when you meet the Ultimate truth that you're nothing but an experience,  born out of a will  to experience.

   video: FIRST KISS (3'16'')

   This isn't about strangers without names (even a long-term partner is a 'stranger' if you don't blind yourself to impermanence!), this isn't even about relationships.
   This is about not-knowing, this is about meeting the Other (instead of keeping it at a 'safe' distance), this is about engaging with Oneness and Separateness at once;  this is about getting out of your head and being fully present to the situation at hand. This is about forgiving and trusting, stepping away from past hurt and the fear of future hurt (not by denying these but by not identifying with them, not letting them define who you embody).
   No attempt will automatically work out well, but what do you see coming if you don't even try? A 'full' life? A 'full' experience? Happiness?
   This is about being fearless ( and brave enough that you open yourself, that you accept your vulnerability, that you accept pain so you can let it go instead of fighting against it (thus carrying it around with you, doubling it by the sheer frustration of never truly becoming 'stronger' than pain).

   This is about letting the world heal you as much as you healing the world… but this starts by accepting that it is painful right now, that habits and certainties didn't create the expected results, that you don't really know what's going on but that it seems clear from the experienced results that you need to step out of the known tracks, of your own worn-out status quo…
   You can still use your head! but how much longer should you stay 'locked' in your head? Do you use mental anchors appropriately, or are the anchors impeding your movements and deciding for you how far you go?

photo: "Avenida de la Vida II", © Bertram Bahner