Charles Wikner WIKNER at NACDH4.NAC.AC.ZA
Tue May 12 02:52:41 CDT 1998

On Thu, 7 May 1998, Parisi & Watson <niche at AMERITECH.NET> wrote:

> I really don't see that individual needs are relevant. Needs can be
> misguided and misplaced, and we can seek to fulfill them in the wrong
> places.

There are no needs, only desires.  You may say that the body needs
food, but that is based on a desire to sustain life in the body.

> If I can't find purpose and meaning in philosophy or religion,
> maybe I should be looking somewhere else entirely,

Yes, indeed!  The words "purpose" and "meaning" imply an end or result.
The need of the body for food implies a result or purpose: in order to
live.  The "somewhere else" to look is for causes, not effects.

If the Advaita list will indulge a Christian quote:

      The disciples said to Jesus: Tell us how our end will be.
      Jesus said: Have you then discovered the beginning so that
      you enquire about the end?  For where the beginning is,
      there shall be the end.  Blessed is he who shall stand at
      the beginning, and shall he know the end and he shall not
      taste death.
                            [The Gospel according to Thomas 18]

Pure Advaita!  The Vedas say the same:

      God made sense turn outward, man therefore looks outward,
      not into himself.  Now and again a a daring soul, desiring
      immortality, has looked back and found himself.
                     [Katha 2.1.1 tr. Purohit Swami & W.B.Yeats]

> or maybe I should be
> questioning the nature of the need itself.

Not so much its nature, as the cause or source of the perceived need.

> I might have to go for a time
> without any sense of meaning at all

Man generally want to know something, or to be something, or to do
something, in order to justify his existence.  That you exist is a
fact: there is no need to justify it.  Rather seek the cause of the
limits to that existence.

> in order to be properly motivated in
> considering these questions.

What is "proper" motivation?  Man is generally dissatisfied with his
lot -- limited happiness, limited knowledge, limited life -- so he
desires more, and this desire is what keeps the wheel of creation
revolving.  Motivation is just rajas: used intelligently it seeks
the cause of these limitations, and then transcends them.  Whether
that is "proper" or not, is for you to decide.

> But please don't tell me that I should
> accept something because it will fill a need for which I have no other
> satisfaction, at least for now.

Right!  Don't blindly accept anything -- but then don't blindly
reject it either.  Examine it: if it is useful, then use it;
otherwise lay it aside (it may prove useful later).

Regards, Charles.

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