Last week, a guy posted this picture on a BBM Group, I picked it up and decided to dissect it arriving at the conclusion that the only way to follow those Seven Logics is when you live in a cave eating only berries and drinking from a spring, but when you live in a human society you just cannot apply them. Suffice to say I was alone at my corner on this with about 5 other guys pummeling me through their keyboards and the 24 other members providing mute spectatorship. A day later, I got into another discussion (not argument) with my friend and the point of divergence centred on the hallowed issue of “mind” with him positing that the mind (being an intangible entity) cannot and do not grow, but only reacts to accommodate memory and experience, and me postulating that memory, experience and mind are three inextricable elements thus whatever attribute is applicable to one must be applicable to others. Needless to say we could not reach an agreement despite having expended the better part of two hour on the discussion.
Consequently, my inquisitive nature pushed me to start researching the concept of “mind” and I have to confess although I have added to my body of knowledge, I am still as confused if not even more confused on the concept. But in the midst of my research, I discovered something which answered both questions that were raised last week. I discovered that even the Buddha was asked 14 questions which he could not answer. The questions when considered by their subject matters can be grouped in four categories:
Questions concerning the existence of the world in time:
1. Is the world eternal?
2. ...or not?
3. ...or both?
4. ...or neither?
Questions concerning the existence of the world in space:
5. Is the world finite?
6. ...or not?
7. ...or both?
8. ...or neither?
Questions referring to personal experience:
9. Is the self identical with the body?
10. ...or is it different from the body?
Questions referring to life after death:
11. Does the Tathagata (Buddha) exist after death?
12. ...or not?
13. ...or both?
14. ...or neither?
According to verifiable history, The Buddha initially remained silent when asked these fourteen questions; he then proceeded to explain himself thus “these questions are a net and I refuse to be drawn into such a net of theories, speculations, and dogmas. It was because I was free of bondage to all theories and dogmas that I had attained liberation; such speculations, are attended by fever, unease, bewilderment, and suffering, and it is by freeing oneself of them that one achieves liberation.” Puzzling, isn’t it? That even the Buddha for whatever reasons chose not to answer some questions. That is the essence of LIFE. Life is such a complex notion/entity/idea/reality/concept…just choose one. With every passing moment, life presents questions which lead to further questions in the process of answering them - a child is a bundle of joy, why does childbirth have to be so painful then?
Interestingly, we are better off today than 800 years ago, today when we see an apple drop from a tree we just pick it up and eat it without bothering to ask why it fell down, Isaac Newton already did that for us. Just look at technology and imagine how people survived 500 years ago, or to even bring it closer, 100 years ago. Ironically, the easier life gets, the easier it has become to also make life hell. For every Boeing 747 Jet, there is an F-4 Phantom; for the discovery of Penicillin, we have the discovery of SARS; for Albert Einstein, we have Ghengis Khan; for Murtala Mohammed, we have Goodluck Jonathan; for every good progress we make, we are capable of making an evil progress that surpasses that, and that is where my perplexity stands at the moment.
Resignedly, I have come to accept that Life will continue to be incomprehensible, a labyrinth that no one can get out of alive, a mixture of good and bad, a puzzle that no one can really solve... But this gloomy picture of life does not preclude the fact that life could be enjoyed still and the sojourn here could be made to be worth its while. Just live simply, put in your best and hope for the best.
Reminiscing with nostalgia about Philosophy lectures back then, after the lecturer had confused us to a state of Aporia, he usually put the icing on the cake by giving an assignment, let me sign off today by toeing that line:
1) Is the Zebra a black animal with white stripes; or is it a white animal with black stripes?
2) Did the egg come before the hen or the hen before the egg?
God Bless Us All!!
See You Next Time!!!