2009.09.30 - Motives

    Table of contents
    No headers

    Here is the text of a dialogue held by Piet Hut (in SL: Pema Pera) and Steven Tainer (in SL: Stim Morane), in Second Life on September 30, 2009.


    P: yesterday we talked about the challenge inherent in PaB's approach
       of "starting at the end", skipping the usual years of intense
       practice, and directly jumping to an engagement with Being.  I
       mentioned that I saw two ways to counter that challenge: through
       an intense motivation to see directly into the heart of reality;
       and/or through an intense interest in play, as a way of life.
    S: yes
    P: this was in the context of the question how we can best function
       in PaB, "helping it along" as you expressed it
    P: now one radical position would be to say: there is ultimately
       nothing we can do
    P: and trying to help things along is not appropriate for a Being kind
       of view
    P: so if we take that stance we can simply hope to attract individuals
       with very strong motivation exploring the nature of reality
    P: but another stance would be to try to kindle that kind of
    P: and in that way to "help along"
    P: What do you think?
    S: this is a very difficult issue ...
    S: my often-stated policy is to not try to give people a motive
    S: If you want to go the other way, I look forward to seeing how it
       works out, over a multi-year time frame.
    S: this is not only my policy, but that of the lineages I descend from
    P: let's go very slow here, this is such a central point; let's see
       what options there are
    P: there seem to be many options, beyond giving no motive at all, and
       presenting someone with a ready-made motive
    P: certainly the latter is something I don't like at all.
    S: my option is to see what motive people actually have
    S: I teach different people in diff ways, based on the motives they
       can recognize at a give time
    S: *given
    P: an example of giving someone an exterior ready-made motive is what
       several sects do, on university campuses, looking for people who
       are lonely and depressed, and who feel a lack in their life.  They
       then provide their ready-made motive, as a kind of mental parasite
       or virus . . . .
    S: yes
    P: so I completely agree that to "give" someone a motive is wrong
    P: but stepping back and waiting for a motive to express itself
       doesn't seem right either
    P: I guess what you mean is that we can help them to find their own
    S: no, I'm not suggesting waiting ...
    S: yes, that is my official position, and the only one I trust
    P: that makes sense, and it is like Socrates, who saw himself as a
    S: there are other approaches ... even Buddhism often tries to "give"
       people a motive to some degree ... but I avoid it.
    P: so when someone seems to start off with a destructive motive, like
       fighting others, directly or in whatever modern-day competitive
       form, the challenge is then to look underneath that motive to try
       to find a more pure one?
    S: that is not a motive in the sense we are using the word. It is
       merely an obsession, or a fixation of some sort.
    P: but it could be seen as an expression, in however limited a way,
       of something more fundamental and deeper, coming closer to what
       you call a motive
    S: it's possible ... but people have a lot of habits, including
       emotional and attitudinal ones, that have little to do with a real
       motive of any sort. They derive from many conditions and factors.
    S: Anyway, this may become a digression from your main interest at
       this point ...
    P: oh no, not at all, this is central
    P: wu-wei implies: watching keenly, but not manipulating
    P: and in PaB too, the question is: how to respect and cultivate
       everyone's motives, without manipulating
    P: including of course respecting and cultivating our own motive
    S: yes
    P: how do you go about trying to find out what motive others have?
    S: this is a big question which I'd prefer to duck ... it would be too
       big a digression from something like PaB.
    P: it seems central to PaB, to the question of how we can engage in
       PaB, individually and collectively
    S: well, I look forward to seeing what a PaB approach would be ...
    P: before taking that up, I'd like to continue this "motive" thread
       a bit further, to make sure I understand fully what you mean.
    P: Take the example of Buddhists saying "being born human is extremely
       rare and precious, so make sure you really devote yourself to
       practice, in this lifetime"
    P: Would you consider that "giving people a motive"?
    S: If I am anything, in the world of "religious" options, I'm a
    S: But I am cautious about standard Buddhist ways of emphasizing
       certain points.
    S: Especially in the present, modern-day context, they run the risk
       of "giving people a motive", in ways that are too idealistic to be
       realistic, and it's the latter that is what Buddhism is about,
       properly speaking.
    P: Yes, idealism has caused at least a hundred million deaths in the
       last century . . .
    S: many more ...
    P: from fascism to communism to religious wars
    S: yes, and it obscures what must be seen on the individual level too,
       which is the sort of problem I'm concerned about.
    P: can you say more about that?
    S: it's just what we mentioned before, that people need to find their
       own motives.
    P: I find this a very helpful discussion
    P: It helps me to see PaB in the spectrum between idealism and realism
    S: there are various related factors.
    S: It would be easy to play the charisma game, as a teacher, but that
       too is toxic for the same reasons, and I avoid it.
    P: at the same time, a teacher also teaches by expressing his/her full
       involvement in the world
    S: it's a delicate point ...
    S: especially since what a teacher sees and lives are probably not
       really understandable by others anyway ...
    S: only particular things can be correctly picked up by others, basic
       things that are important for everyone.
    S: EVen there, it's tricky ...
    S: Anyway, I agree with your point ...
    P: Yes, teaching is a difficult balance . . .  I'm glad I'm not a
       teacher :-)
    S: Yes, PaB will be different, I suppose.
    P: To come back to idealism:
    P: pure realism can easily lead to a pragmatic approach of denying
       what is not immediately visible and obvious, whereas pure idealism,
       as you have pointed out, can be misleading in being ungrounded
    P: PaB may be unique in seeming to be the ultimate idealism, in
       talking about Being, and yet being the least idealistic, in giving
       no handle at all in terms of any ideal that can be stated
    S: :)
    P: perhaps we can start there tomorrow?
    S: Sure!

    Tag page (Edit tags)
    • No tags
    You must login to post a comment.
    Powered by MindTouch Core