THE MAINTENANCE OF IGNORANCE

The Maintenance Of Ignorance

We all like a good story; it’s entertaining.
Comedians, philosophers, politicians, scholars, corporations, religions all tell stories.
The media, films, books, songs all tell stories.
We also have our own stories about past and future,
and we fall into the trap of repeating all these stories.

Aye, there’s the rub!
In repeating stories, we exaggerate their worth and become attached.
They evolve into little porky-pies (London slang for lies).
We may say, “So what? There’s no harm in stories.”

Those little porkies take the place of truth, and they stick in our head.
It’s exactly what happens with ‘holy’ text, isn’t it?
We listen to stories and believe them,
and then live our lives according to those stories.

We will never find the truth in a story; they are make believe.
Stories are ambiguous and confusing, and open to interpretation.
This creates tensions and divides people.
Who the devil does this?
We do. We feed off stories.

When we stop believing in stories, we can become disillusioned.
Now that is a perfect state to be in.
It seems only the disillusioned and the dissatisfied turn to the truth.

We may want to be learned, spiritual scholars,
but that doesn’t expose us to the raw experience of life.
Without that, how can we empathise with others’ suffering?
It takes one to know one.

To understand this, we need to look at the Four Noble Truths again.

  1. All existence is suffering and dissatisfaction. Our lives are a struggle, and we don’t find ultimate happiness or satisfaction in anything we experience.

  2. The cause of dissatisfaction is the mind itself, which created an ‘I’ identity that craves. We blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves, either grasping at them, or pushing them away. This places us at odds with the reality of life which is due to the karma we have collected, creating the life we have at present.

  3. The cessation of dissatisfaction comes with the cessation of craving. As we are the ultimate cause of our difficulties, we are also the solution. We cannot change the things that happen to us, but we can change our responses in order avoid more of the same.

  4. There are paths that lead away from dissatisfaction. The Buddha throws responsibility back on to the individual, because our path is undoing our individual confusion.

Thus:
We no longer believe in others’ stories.
We can no longer be manipulated.
We no longer blindly conform.

To put this simply …
we now know what we are doing!

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