IMG_2361
Blog powered by Typepad

« A slender reed | Main | Blog list »

Comments

The philosopher replied without an instant's hesitation, "I have conquered the need to conquer the world."

Great answer!

But what about conquering the need to conquer one's own world? Does any sort of ambition stand in the way of one's spiritual well-being, and is it therefore something to be overcome? But what if striving for spiritual purity is itself a form of ambition, ego in different form? It can make your head spin.

I know that desire and ambition ultimately cause unhappiness. I also know that without them, I would just give up and feel I had no reason to live. Why get out of bed? Why eat? I wonder how the gymnosophists would reconcile these things.

It could be argued that Alexander did something with his short life, even if it was something horrible. (Maybe if he'd known the result would be Oliver Stone's movie, he'd have stayed home.) I wouldn't personally agree with this view, but I'd have to acknowledge the point.

>I know that desire and ambition ultimately cause unhappiness. I also know that without them, I would just give up and feel I had no reason to live. Why get out of bed?

I'm not sure the gymnosophist's answer was meant to suggest that all ambition and desire are bad. But "lust for blood and conquest," as Goddard put it, is bad.

Buddhism teaches that all desires should be foresworn in order to prevent attachment to the physical world. But Hinduism is a little different (and the gymnosophists were Hindus). It teaches that we should "commit to the process, detach from the outcome." Desire is fine, as long as we don't imagine that we control the outcome of our wishes and efforts. I've written about this here.

The comments to this entry are closed.