Confirmation bias afflicts even the most objective thinkers. I am generally sceptical that people, especially in our current febrile state, have the wise nuanced answers to the big questions of society, philosophy and the human condition. I think we are usually wrong, despite the confidence and self-certainty of the protagonists, wrapped-up in self-constructed “isms” and other ideological belief identities in which to force life. But things always change. We are improving. It is better to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t know who I am” and experience where reality turns on the journey.
What would have happened if Gandalf had accepted Frodo’s offer of the One Ring?
Gandalf freezes, the shadow of the ring draws his hand nearer; and as the fire skips a beat, the ring falls into Gandalf’s pocket. “I shall keep the ring safe and unused. However if there is just cause to use it, I shall become the guarantor of peace”, announces Gandalf solemnly.
As night draws in, Gandalf looks back over the hills at the tiny flickering lights of the Shire. The Wizard whispers to himself: “There is much to do. Much to do.” He notices the weight of his robes and the precious Ring within.
Gandalf wanders, ruminating intensely upon the weaknesses of Elves and Men. He reasons that Elves are incapable of comprehending the true power of the Ring, and would foolishly wish to destroy the golden future of Middle-earth. He knows that mere Men are too easily corrupted by its power. Gandalf is absolutely resolved: he must keep the Master Ring his own secret, at all costs.
Gandalf sits on the crest of Weathertop. The days pass, the rain falls but Gandalf does not notice; he is lost in matters of deepest consequence. Then out of every corner of the darkness come the cries of The Nine: “The Ring. The Ring!”. Gandalf raises his staff and proclaims: “I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor, your master, the Lord of the Ring!”. “The Ring. The Ring!”, chant The Nine. As the Ring slides onto Gandalf’s finger, the sky erupts with lightning. “I am the bringer of light”, exclaims Gandalf in triumph.
Gandalf of Many Colours imprisons Saruman the Traitor and unifies Elves and Men against Sauron, destroying the Dark Lord and his Dark Tower of Mordor. Much rejoicing is had by all. Gandalf announces that there is much more to do – to the consternation of Aragorn, who is executed for treason; with all his followers, kinsfolk and other suspected spies of Elrond.
Gandalf later wears an imperial gown of black and proclaims himself the Lord High God of all Middle-earth. He anoints his Ringwraiths Lords of Middle-earth, as a temporary edict to ensure order while the new Great Age of Wisdom is being forged. He puts his vast prison camps of heretics and traitors to work, building a bigger more magnificent tower on the ruins of the Dark Tower, called The Great Tower of Unity – as a example of beauty and perfection to all. Gandalf sits at the top of the tower in his golden throne room and ever-watches, ensuring his subjects are forever obeying his great will.
Gandalf is regularly overcome with anger at the disloyalty and ingratitude of his subjects, which necessitates public demonstrations of his great power, much to the amusement of the Uruk-hai. Transgressors of the laws of Gandalf are sent to Mordor to learn more of The Way of Gandalf – they are not seen again.
One day, as the Lord High God of all Middle-earth is amusing himself with the antics of his Hobbit court jesters, he sips from a chalice of poisoned wine carefully prepared by his servant Grima Wormtongue; he takes his last gasp as the Ring slips from his withered finger on to the finger of his murderer. The Great Tower of Unity is renamed The Dark Tower.
But Gandalf had foreseen and refused this fate, placing his hope instead on the unnoticed deeds of Hobbits. “Will you not take the Ring?”, says Frodo. “No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me!”
The “us” and “them” mentality is the biggest obstacle to overcome. There is only we.
A successful society unlocks all people’s potential for kindness, fulfilment and happiness.
If you are truly happy, it is impossible to be petty, self-absorbed or unkind. Happiness lives in a much better place.
If you choose to share in the happiness of others, rather than compulsively dwelling in negatives, then you have happiness for free.
In history there are countless examples where twisted interpretations of beliefs lead to the justification, or even glorification, of murderous and sadistic tendencies. Such beliefs give a person an identity in opposition to and superiority over other people, who can be condemned and abused from a position of personal righteousness.
In a conscious state of love and kindness, the causing of suffering could not be enacted. True compassion always serves as a natural safety valve, for the question is always: are you alleviating suffering or causing it?
A: Angry humans of the twentieth century came to the brink of self-destruction, inflicting unbelievable suffering in the process. Hating the hatred helps it grow, even though it may change its face.
B: That’s just an empty platitude. If you don’t fight the malevolent, you are complicit by allowing it to continue.
A: You always become the result of the energy that moves you. Not for no reason has it been so often said that you become the thing you hate.
B: I have every right to hate. There should be justice! People sitting on mountain tops don’t have to deal with the realities of this world. If people didn’t fight for what is right, evil would walk over everything, including you and me.
A: You deserve not to be contaminated by this energy. You have a chance to be better, to make a better world. You can feel what is right and act intensely, but it is your anger that unbalances you.
B: Some people are evil, I have no intention of being kind to them, they deserve everything coming to them.
A: The world will only heal with kindness. If humanity can find its light there can be no darkness. You can help make that possible, right now.
B: Anything I do will not change the world.
A: Give your love and the world will be relieved. Give your anger and the world will be wounded yet again. That’s how important you are. That’s how important every single person is.
1: Can you help me?
4: Yes of course.
1: I am consumed with feelings for someone who doesn’t have them for me. I have trouble sleeping and wake up aroused. I have no choice but to think about her and when I do I am flooded with physical desire for her. This is “in love” right?
4: You know that sexual desire changes and what you are feeling now may fade away?
1: Yes I know craving isn’t love, but it isn’t as simple as that.
4: What do you think triggered it this time?
1: I don’t know.
4: Pain is attracted to pain because it wants more of it.
1: I’m not sure I agree with that. It’s recognition of something in another, a similar frequency or whatever you want to call it. I suppose if you see similar expression in another, empathy can create feelings of closeness.
4: Can you express your feelings to her?
1: It’s not possible or helpful to be open with her, she has her own life and I want her to be happy.
4: Examine whether that is really true, or are you being fearful?
1: No, it’s not possible, selfish even.
4: Then this is an opportunity for you to practice love with non-attachment.
1: Doesn’t sound very romantic.
4: Love is giving, complete, the source of everything. Love doesn’t need to crave anything. This is where peace and serenity reside.
1: Sounds like you’re saying I should not get too close to anyone or need or miss anyone. It sounds unnatural, uncaring.
4: Love is not conditional on the circumstances in this world. Let your heart break, don’t be afraid, don’t struggle, you will find that nothing is ever lost.
1: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
4: Yes you do. Be still, radiate love, your true nature beyond the conditioning of your mind.
2: Why do you hurt?
1: Because I love her.
2: Do you love her? You could have done something a long time ago if you loved her.
1: I was dead inside.
2: Ah bless. Don’t make excuses, you want what you can’t have – is that not true?
1: No I hurt because of losing the hoped for happiness I might have had.
2: You are confusing emotions, thinking with your dick. You’ve felt like this before haven’t you?
1: Yes. More than once.
2: You’re just repeating the same old patterns then aren’t you?
1: Yes probably, but maybe I am because I didn’t learn before.
2: Ha, bullshit. Shit happens, you think you’ve learnt something?
1: I’m aware of this conversation.
2: I’m you, dickhead. Have this “conversation” out loud on the tube, see what response you get.
1: I might get a couple of extra seats.
I know that your voice is interchangeable with the madness happening in the world.
2: What’s that supposed to mean! Wake up, it’s survival of the fittest. Obey the rules or be just another of the losers cast aside. I can help you.
1: Maybe you mean it, but you say the same thing to everyone else as well, resulting in everyone using and abusing each other for the survival of you.
2: Nobody gives a shit about you. If you’re too stupid to understand that then you’re just another of nature’s mistakes. Tell me, what is love?
1: A sense of feeling connected with another, wanting the other to flourish and to feel joy themselves.
2: Bullshit. It’s a chemical response in your brain evolved to make you bond for the purpose of rearing children. The science is there if you are prepared to look. You’re a disposable puppet to your genes.
1: I don’t understand the unknowable ultimate causes of things and neither does scientific knowledge. What I do know is that if more people felt connected to each other, and loved each other, then the world would be a much better place.
2: Women seek to manipulate and control you. They will prod and poke you to see your reactions. It’s all perfectly understandable – they want someone dedicated to them who will do their bidding. Love and sex are excellent ways to achieve results.
1: I think that women are more likely to get extreme when they feel they’re not receiving the love they have given. But generally everyone is crying out in the dark to be loved.
2: Love, love all we need is love – it’s shite. You’re here to be somebody, to take what you can before it’s too late. By all means, pretend to love if it means getting women, that’s a good tactic.
1: It’s also callous and hateful.
2: People who desire love want to be adored, admired, pleasured. A little bit of chemical voodoo and that’s your love. It soon goes when the chemicals wear off, when things aren’t as pleasurable as before, when the compliments turn into insults. I can get you better drugs than that if you want.
1: Sometimes with the need to be loved comes an illness that is one way, conditional and with high expectations for personal reward. It’s not love. But all things change, the illness can fade into full health.
2: A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
1: You’re becoming boring.
2: You disappoint me. You are not survival material.
1: Somehow that doesn’t matter any more.
2: You will gradually rot away to nothing. And no-one will give a shit.
1: Oh well. I feel a bit lighter. And you’ve helped me answer the main question. Yes I do love her because I want her to be fulfilled and happy, even if she finds that with someone else.
1: I would rather live in my world than yours. Cheers.
Although life always has its funny way of testing assumptions about anything, I am an enormously fortunate human being, living in a time and place where I have an opportunity to explore varied possibilities of life and to express my thoughts without a serious risk of destructive oppression and inquisition.
This blog is intended to consolidate my observations, the only real conclusion being that experience has somehow shown me what I already knew but did not understand, as written by many people before.
Throughout history we have behaved like members of ant colonies: attacking, destroying and enslaving each other, with the added horrors of sadism and sexual violence, often led by one murderous sociopath after another. History is predominately one of brutalized, traumatized, confused people living in pain and subjugation – we in turn build statues to the monstrous and watch entertainments of the butchery.
Yet young children are joyous, loving, curious, imaginative, creative, alive – everything we as adults should be. Adults generally (despite the facades) are often lost in a mix of anxiety, depression, frustration, regret, vengeance, anger, fear and self-loathing; in varying stages of struggle and confusion.
Something happens along the way that drains the joy and implants the madness. If we are aware of what that is, can we become better adults?