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better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

i think everyone on this board is somehow trying to understand the meaning of our existence and life through various means including dreams.

this got me wondering whether we will be happier beings if we can live in ignorant bliss or with pain and suffering as an individual who sees life's joys and pitfalls.

input?

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

hi,
what a pleasure it must be to live in ignorant bliss,
but what if you have woken up to something greater,
to supress a truth is to give it strength beyond all endurance.
steve

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

maya,
the meaning of life. Ah, yes! The question that comes up at mid-life. But isn't ignorant bliss antithetical? Consider what Joseph Campbell had to say about both:


People say what we're all seeking is a meaning for life
. . I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive...Experience of life. The mind has to do with meaning. What is the meaning of a flower? There is no meaning. What is the meaning of a flea? It's just there. That's it. And your own meaning is that you're there.

How do you find the meaning? By experiencing life and seeking that bliss in life that is you. Creativity and spirituality, along with those realizations of the 'Individuated Self', that's where Campbell {& Jung}
tells us to seek 'meaning'.

And bliss;

"if you follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. You begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you."

Those who experience their true bliss, and those who are consciously on that journey to find their bliss, there can be no ignorance in that. And they find meaning, their meaning. Often through the creative aspect.

Once you begin that journey, what Campbell calls the hero/heroine journey, your bliss becomes the central focus of your life, and
you wdiscover your bliss and it will bring harmony and balance to life.

It is ignorance that prevents us from finding our bliss, our meaning. And most of the hate and evil in the world. One who seeks their inner bliss will naturally discover the gnosis of the inner self. Dreams are indeed one way to self discoveryand ultimate personal growth. Physically, psychologically, creatively, and spiritually.

And for those who do live in ''gnorant bliss, as antithetical as it is to a Jungian mind, I've met a couple who seemed to live such a life but like most others ignorance reigned in their lives also.

What else besides meaning consumes us at mid-life


Death. The fear of dying, of death. But even with death there is hope. From the
Mystical Islamic Sulfi Proverb
:
When the angel of death approaches it is horrific, when it reaches you, it is 'bliss'.

The ultimate bliss we all experience.




Gerard

The hero path is a psychological journey

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

Maya,

"When you've seen beyond yourself - then you may find peace of mind, is waiting there - And the time will come when you see we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you.
"Within You Without You' by George Harrison (The Beatles)



Kind regards,
Kathy

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

"What is the meaning of a flower? There is no meaning. What is the meaning of a flea? It's just there. That's it. And your own meaning is that you're there."

Gerard,

Thanks for the response. I loved the above passage because it explains so much with so little.

However, I also feel that there are so much nitty gritty of life that cannot be "taken care" of with a rational analysis of the spiritual. Because life involves myriad of human interactions and relationships, life is sometimes downright complicated and ugly. But within this chaos, I feel that there is pure beauty as long as we keep our eyes open; hence, awakened angst. I understand that my existence is the meaning of my life. Still somehow I feel that there is so much more... to understand and to serve the world.

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

"to supress a truth is to give it strength beyond all endurance."

Steve,
This sentence resonated with me. I wish you can elaborate...

Thank you.

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Re: Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

hi,
when the conscious ego comes into contact with something greater than itself,the usual reaction is to deny it,
the ego thinks it is running the show,but through dreams ,visions and related experiences,
a wider expansion of consciousness becomes available,
i think of paul on the road to damascus as a ref,
he was in denial,his persecution of christians was unrelenting,i have no doubt that he was having lots of dreams about his behaviour,
he knew the truth but failed to accept it,
until as we all know,the truth broke through and blinded him,from that moment he was a changed man,
i use this as an example only because it describes the ,strength beyond all endurance theme,
if anyone has had an experience that opens them up to that something greater,(non drug induced,that is)it is impossible to keep it under wraps,
the truth will out.
joseph campbell is the great sage of this field and his works saved my life,
i think one of the problems of modern man is we have lost touch with nature,the peoples that lived with nature were having spiritual experiences all the time,it was part of them,they were part of it,
they had not pitted themselves against it,but were attatched,
look at us now,
go to any library,books like,how to find yourself,how to be human,conquer your fear etc,
we are out of balance with nature and therefore ourselves,all the dreams are about bringing us back into harmony,to a greater or lesser degree.
if you have not had your wake up experience,then don't worry,you don't need a book,look into yourself and the dreams will do the rest,
i hope that somewhere in this post i have answered your question,
regards steve

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

HI

Maya...I want to respond to your question by re-phrasing it; I think I have been thinking along similar lines lately.

While the process towards enligtenment (self knowlegde)is not somthing I would automatically associate with angst... I am curious about the difference in the lives of "those who do" and "those who don't" ....For instance I had a grandmother, who literally 'stayed the same' her entire life... I wouldn't say she lived a blissful existence (though she might)... how can the process of enligtenment be so retarded. I think this is to ask:

Do we choose enligtenment/individuation?? Or does it choose us??

Thanks for the really interesting entries above too..

Anna

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

anan,
Great question. And rephrasing it the way you did makes it clear of your intentions which I missed in your original post. I must do better.
I dare say your grandmother was not ignorant, all evidence points to the opposite, if she lived life in balance all her life. For everyone there are the moments of distress. I know people who take life as it comes, not too serious, never too concerned. They are fortunate in their make-up, and often wise in their decisions. It only seems as if they are always behind.

The First Buddhist saying, 'there will be sorrow in life'.
Campbell says, 'it's what you think'. Place your thoughts/energies in the positive, and you generate positives.

Your grandmother apparently had the psyche/personality {which has its ground in nature and nurture} that let the psyche lead and not the ego-centric self. She evolved different from most people, for the best. She accomplished what Buddhist and Hindus strive for all there lives, a self-styled form of 'Nirvana'.

As to your question, "Do we choose enlightenment/individuation?? Or does it choose us??". I believe it is much like the nature/nurture equation. 6 of one, half dozen of the other. It depends whether you take the six or the half dozen.
Gnosis/knowledge is available to all. Generally it has to be discovered through a self examination, what many call the inner journey. In dreams they are represented by the archetypes. When one intentionally, and with true discipline, undertakes the hero journey {the hero is the enlightened individual, the Grail the enlightened soul}, there is a transformation of psyche. It is a natural thing, within the realms of natural science.

Yet the journey is as much metaphysical as it is physical because to experience enlightenment there must be that inward journey, and sacrifices that require heroic strengths, disciplines, beyond the expectations of the social world. It is spiritual, and with a conscious intention. Most people are too concerned on the material world so very few even realize the possibilities, or the consequences.

I see enlightenment as being a natural catalyst to discovering the creative Self. And enlighenment is a product of spirituality {beyond religion}.
Joseph Campbell tells us we have two chances to realize that creative Self, following one's bliss. One is in our teens/early adult. The second is at mid-life. Perhaps these times are when englightenment is most prevelent to be aquired. It tends to tie in with the meaning of life thing.
It is for sure too few people at mid-life even consider an 'inner journey'. Gnosis is a step above general comphrension. And Individuation is much too difficult for most Westerners. So you and I and those who consciously seek enlightenement, we are the few. But better be the few than the truly ignorant.

Can an average Joe/Jane obtain enlightenment just by co-incidence or happen-stance? As often as a meteorite hits a person dead on.

But we can never say never.

Gerard

He who knows doesn't know. He who doesn't know, knows

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

Thanks G.

It was Maya's original question...which I re-phrased cause of something that has been bothering me; and I think your throughful answer clarified my angst. You link individualtion as a process that extends "beyond the expectations of the social world."

I think that's the key / the hard bit...perhaps especially re. men's individuation in the context of patriarchy. I have a friend whose completely caught up in anima projections...severely in fact - to the point of quite disturbing behaviours. The social world around him affirms his perceptions rather than challenges them....there seems to be no way that he will take an inner journey. But who knows...I am not his keeper after all.

cheers
Anna

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

I prefer enlightened bliss lol
Also, I don't think everyone working on personal growth is seeking the meaning of life, like some holy grail, I think its more about understanding the journey we are all on from another perspective?

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Re: better to live in ignorant bliss or enlightened angst

The meaning of life. Let me throw a curveball into the discussion. A Campbell quote about the meaning of life.
The meaning of life? Life is actually just a bunch of protoplasm with the urge to continue and multiply. If life has to have "meaning", it's up to you to supply that."

Now that sounds terribly harsh. But if you think about it, isn't it true?

Meaning has to do with thinking


Casmpbell's answer to finding meaning in our lives?

Follow Your Bliss


Campbell: It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being." I think it worked.

Ignorant bliss may seem better than enlightenment. But if you look around you will discover that the ignorant part leads to war and conflict. There is no bliss in that. If you never know your true bliss, you will never live a life with meaning, only ignorance. We need only to look to the Middle East, Beruit, Israel.

Campbell: In Beruit you have the three great western religions killing each other because they have a different name for the same God.
How true. Campbell made this statement some 20+ years ago, before his death in 1987.

This is the only meaning an ignorant peson will understand. They have lost their bliss to religious dogma. There is no sprituality in that.

Gerard

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