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The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.
Herbert Marcuse One-Dimensional Man
But then most of us have always recognized ourselves by something outside ourselves and rightly so. For most of us it is by something outside ourselves that we find meaning, purpose, utility, art and joy. It is the what outside ourselves the is the mark of who we are. When we starting taking surnames we used that which we did or he whom we were descended from, we became Taylor, Fisher, Guntersen. Today most men are what they do still or the son or daughter of someone who still provides that external meaning. "What do you do" we hear when we are older, "What does your father do", we hear when we are younger. If not that then it is something else for us, the art we make, the deeds we do, the care we give, the group to which we belong, that we have long hair, that we believe X.

It is very few that recognize themselves by something that is fully within themselves and I will not venture to say that doing so is more enlightened than doing the other.

No, we have never been one-dimensional, not even we Americans. We have been perceived so, we have perceived ourselves so. Each time, though, it has been the one-dimensional examination of us that leads to this view, the fixation on some highly unique characteristic that we had, that the other (even when the other was ourself) could not see beyond to the other dimensions behind.

We recognize ourselves by things outside ourselves, sometimes those are commodities, our cars, our houses; sometimes they are not.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
philoserf
Aug. 5th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC)
hmm?
Attachment
In the Four Noble truths, Buddha Shakyamuni taught that attachment to self is the root cause of suffering:
From craving [attachment] springs grief, from craving springs fear; For him who is wholly free from craving, there is no grief, much less fear. (Dhammapada Sutra. In Narada Maha Thera, The Buddha and His Teachings.)

If you don't have attachments, naturally you're liberated ... In ancient times, there was an old cultivator who asked for instructions from a monk, "Great Monk, let me ask you, how can I attain liberation?" The Great monk said, "Who tied you up?" This old cultivator answered, "Nobody tied me up." The monk said, "Then why do you seek liberation?" (Hsuan Hua, tr., Flower Adornment Sutra, "Pure Conduct," chap. 11.)
For the seasoned practitioner, even the Dharma must not become an attachment. As an analogy, to clean one's shirt, it is necessary to use soap. However, if the soap is not then rinsed out, the garment will not be truly clean. Similarly, the practitioner's mind will not be fully liberated until he severs attachment to everything, including the Dharma itself.
touchofgrey
Aug. 5th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
that we have long hair

*waves*

I still haven't figured out which dinette set really defines me as a person...
philoserf
Aug. 5th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
There is now question really. One of these models from the Sears catalog is your 'true reflection".


touchofgrey
Aug. 5th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, my...
ethicalhedonist
Aug. 5th, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thought-provoking post. Thank you. It made me wonder... if we recognize ourselves in the things we have, do we not also recognize ourselves in the things we want? Often, it is what we want that drives us, that gives purpose to our lives. If we identify with what we have, then what we want, what we yearn for, is what we may become?
philoserf
Aug. 5th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
A bit from my bio in italics is relevant perhaps:
 f' 'u 'u f'in' f'

thus it is said and thus it shall be
i am that i am
if i can watch my mind think
i think therefore i need thorazine

balance

be content
without discontent where from
does progress come

is progress that important

anyway
I recently saw a quote that I will paraphrase here: The secret to happiness wanting what you have rather than wanting what you do not have.

It is a strange balance, like most human mental activity. We must have some of both sides to be fully involved. It is no curious thing that duality sits within so many human philosophies.
ethicalhedonist
Aug. 6th, 2005 03:13 am (UTC)
A completely unrelated question...
Where the hell is this timezone? Australia? Moscow? Its 20:10 8/5/05 PST. Its probably 04:10 8/6/05 GMT.
philoserf
Aug. 6th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
Re: A completely unrelated question...
21:51 PST I don't know what LJ is doing. Usually they dat ethe entries by the writer's local.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 12th, 2011 08:38 am (UTC)
new essay on interior design: http://www.squidoo.com/modern-furniture-max
Greetings Friends!

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enjoy

Bob
(Anonymous)
Feb. 11th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
vuitton bag
I am very grateful to you. Many thanks.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 12th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
vuitton bags
It is an excellent variant
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )