Thursday, 22 September 2016

All Is Vanity

          In days of yore when computers were computers and not PC's and we wrote our own computer programmes (those were the days!), it sometimes became advisable to write sub-routines to the main programme. These sub-routines were triggered whenever a certain set of mathematical conditions occurred. Unfortunately, it also sometimes happened that as a result of incorrect programming, the sub-routine would go into an endless loop, continuing to repeat itself uselessly until someone noticed the rapidly mounting pile of paper readout on the floor. At that point, drastic measures were call for, and a return to the mathematical drawing board.
          Sub-personalities, those examples of personal behaviour patterns, called into operation when a given set of circumstances emerge, behave in a similar manner to computer sub-routines. When we begin to behave in a certain way, it is often impossible to see anything 'wrong' or dysfunctional in our behaviour until something traumatic occurs. Then a change of behaviour is called for.
          I pointed out in my previous post that our recent house fire has had repercussions on various levels, not only on the material level. I do not know what triggers the switching on of this particular sub-personality that I have, but the trigger results in a focused, almost obsessional, commitment to the project on hand. It may be trying to rescue or make good a dysfunctional relationship, or completing a renovation project, or what-have-you, long after the project should have been halted. I say again, one is unaware that one has become obsessive until that severe event happens that halts one in one's tracks. Thus it is with our recent house fire.
          Interestingly, at least in my experience, enlightenment brings about an immediate and lasting change of attitude and behaviour. That is not to say that something else will not trigger that sub-routine/sub-personality in the future. I just hope I will see it coming, although I have never done so up until now. So why should things change?
          It does seem that the unconscious, psychological event has far more power than the physical/material event. Walking into that unconscious-made-conscious world makes me feel relatively small, powerless and maybe insignificant. On the material level, it is almost possible to shrug off the fire, get stuck in and deal with 'it'. Not so on a deeper level where something else seems to be operating through my life.
          So life will continue on its upward spiral. Patterns will repeat themselves but never in quite the same way again. What may seem to be new may in the end only be a reworking of old patterns. As the preacher said, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!"

9 comments:

  1. Hi Tom,
    I also recall that past often used quote but seldom referenced nowadays “Vanity of vanities – all is vanity” as “vanity” I agree is the principal roadblock to restitution when conflicts arise. Remarkably as you say it’s often only after a traumatic life event or experience we see evidence of a revised mindset. But as a corollary what about “circles of virtue” so in lieu of quick fixes we have system enhancements? But for that to happen one has to be sufficiently open and humble – and maybe I am falling for the trap of being far too idealistic. Could it be the patterns repeat but the responses can be markedly different so we gain the capacity for a more enhanced existence. Depends on whether or not I guess you are a pessimist or an optimist I guess. Personally I would like to think with each new experience there is added wisdom or maturity which enables one to live a life more fully and which I think you are hinting at in your post.
    But on the practical side I do think the idea of “do it right the first time” might be a novel rewarding experience for say technology companies to reduce the vast amount of “rework” by better testing before product releases.
    Best wishes

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    1. There are moments when I think this recent experience is very muddy; at other times it is crystal clear. What is important, I feel, is to determine where it is all going. I suspect that suddenly the sun will come out and I will see things as if spellbound with wonder.

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  2. I completely identify with this post Tom, and with your remarks about obssesional/repetitive behaviour. I know what you mean! But yes indeed, change can and does happen, sometimes via a traumatic event, and sometimes via the passage of time: the repetitive pattern drops off, the way a dried leaf drop off the stem of an otherwise healthy plant.

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    1. Hullo Natalie; I think there is much hope in your, "the repetitive pattern drops off." Unless that can happen I see little hope that one can move onto a fully contemplative way of life.

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  3. Oops, hit the enter button.

    Can't stop myself, which is frustrating in itself.

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    1. Ooooh, I know. But it is all up and go.

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  4. Oh, maybe I erased the first bit. Nevermind. Why do Marxists only drink herbal tea? Because all Proper Tea is theft.

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    1. It must be catching! I think I must have erased my reply to this comment. A very philosophical statement, young Zhoen.

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    2. Told to me by the even younger Dylan. Should have given him credit.

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