Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Limited and Yet Limitless

Nature that fram'd us of four elements,
Warring within our breasts for regiment,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds:
Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend,
The wondrous Architecture of the world:
And measure every wand'ring planet's course,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite,
And always moving as the restless Spheres,
Will us to wear ourselves and never rest,
Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,
That perfect bliss and sole felicity,
The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.

My friend on the Facebook, Kevin Walker, did a note, posting a portion of the play
“Tamburlaine the Great” by Christopher Marlowe, yesterday. The note is reproduced above. This triggered my thought on the culpability of the human race in assessing its given capacity during the earthly existence.
Describing the character of Tamburlaine, commentators write “Majestic and eloquent, with the ability to conquer not just kings and emperors but the audience of the play, Tamburlaine is one of the most important characters in Elizabethan drama. He is the source of the poetry that made Marlowe famous, and he can be both captivating and repellent because of his brutality. The key to his character is power and ambition, of which Tamburlaine has a superhuman amount, as well as the willingness to use any extreme in order to be triumphant. Unconcerned with social norms or everyday life, Tamburlaine views himself in relation to the gods, and Marlowe uses him as a tool to ask philosophical questions such as what is the furthest extent of human power and accomplishment, and whether this is significant in comparison with heaven.”
We are very arrogant in our thinking and this arises from the premises of a total lack of understanding our own true nature and where we fit in the design of things in the cosmos. We assume that rational and intellectual pursuit can take us to limitless understanding yet the greatest minds of science have humbly accepted the fallibility of their rational and scientific thinking.
Albert Einstein, probably the greatest scientific mind whose intuitions have influenced practically every arena of science, clearly positions man’s place in the cosmos and says:
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space
(the limiting dimension). He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest ... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty (a limitless potential).” {italic text mine}

Mental and intellectual aspirations have limitation. This incessant pursuit leaves one worn out and the ‘sole felicity’ which means the ‘only happiness’ is a temporary euphoria which we chase relentlessly. This is why great spiritual leaders have advised a ‘no mind’ approach to perennial happiness.
“Passions consist of conceptualizations. The ultimate non-existence of these conceptualizations and imaginary fabrications--that is the purity that is the intrinsic nature of the mind. Misapprehensions are passions. The ultimate absence of misapprehensions is the intrinsic nature of mind. The presumption of self is passion. The absence of self is the intrinsic nature of mind.
………..(Buddhism). Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 3

Love to you all

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