Goodness

From a discussion of manners, as dependent on character and position:-

PROF: No one has any position anymore. They are all just like travellers! They are rough; there are no sharply defined roles. There may be some in London—I don’t know—but what you get in the street is just a rabble of travellers.

MINI: And when you get sharply defined roles, it’s hard to believe there is anything in it apart from business.
PROF: Absolutely. Yes. They’ll only be top business executives if they are smart.
ME: There always seemed to be a lot more in it (in the past) than that. There was honour, for instance.
PROF: Oh yes, there was a whole lot — all completely gone. People don’t believe it anymore. It’s not part of the moral setup anymore. Now, they’ve got a single standard, which is money.
MINI: We were looking at that recently, and thinking, “What does ‘good’ reduce to?” What is the meaning of ‘good’!
PROF: Yes, and I came up with a definition of which I am really quite proud:

‘Goodness in Humankind comes down to the ability to Experience Pleasure.’
Amazing. I never quite thought of it like that before.

ME: And religion is like the politics of goodness.
PROF: But religion has been sidelined today, so I don’t really think it’s relevant. It is not part of the mass mind today. It’s only a very small section that still believes it.
MINI: Religion is a little bit like conservatism — the idea is that you save up so you can have a real experience of pleasure at some other time.
PROF: You go without a little bit. Even Krishamurti mentions that: “Self-denial is part of the way.” All that that can mean is you are saving up; saving up for a better experience!
MINI: Christianity at root is: you can save up for the pleasure of heaven.

Later on, the subject of ‘fame’ was touched on, as well as the impossibility of talking to anyone due to emotional misunderstandings. I had been reading Alexander Pope, and thought that “in spite of Pope’s love of wordplay, if he were faced with the wordless, thought-free study, he would have ‘bowed-out’ and absented himself; in other words, he would have completely understood and ‘left the stage’,” but my words were taken by the others in a somewhat different light:-

MINI: When ordinary people get any inkling of the study, their immediate response is just to withdraw — “I didn’t see that,” or, “What they are talking about is nothing.”
PROF: Yes, and as far as the study is concerned, they thereby reveal that they are not, which is what they are! Don’t they? They don’t ‘bow out.’ They just....don’t! The creature isn’t really curious about the ultimate facts at all.
MINI: No, and you’ve illustrated why: the main point and focus is actually the pursuit of pleasure...
Prof: ...that fuzzy warm feeling that life’s alright.
But you can’t talk about this, because people will think you are condemning pleasure: “No pleasure. Right. OK.” Hopeless, with people! They would have to take an interest in this matter; if they don’t, you can’t do anything with them.
I mean, in my own case, it’s rather sad (said he, eyes glinting, looking anything but sad!) that I’ll never become famous (but doing his level best to sound pathetic). Because, awh, you know, I can’t actually promote the study in any way, and you have to admit, that’s a bit sad...
ME: Do you really feel that it’s sad?
PROF: Hmmm (childish indignation)
MINI: But I know that you would run a mile from anything to do with fame!
PROF: But wouldn’t I be chuffed if somebody approved of my sayings?
ME: I think you’d be happy.
PROF: Well that’s the same thing, isn’t it?
ME: I think it’s not so much the approval, as someone actually being able to understand and appreciate it. It’s more than approval.
PROF: More than approval?!
ME: Well, approval is just social.
PROF: You mean it’s an intensified sort of approval...
MINI: Of course, we’d be glad.
PROF: Let’s try and make a hypothesis, then, in which for once, what I say is approved of outside our little circle.
MINI: Yes, just suppose that XX Publications, instead of sending the usual rejection had said, “Yes, that sounds interesting. We agree. It’s time for a book about acknowledgement to be produced and written, and we’d like to see an outline, and please give us your ideas.”
PROF: Thank goodness they didn’t!! (Laughter) Well, because then you are obliged. You are obligated.
ME: But you could do it all very quickly.
PROF: Hmm, I’m not so sure if I was obligated.
MINI: Oh no! You’d do it very easily! We’d help you. We’ve got all the material.
ME: You take even a letter as an obligation, and answer it very quickly.
PROF: I s’pose that’s true.
MINI: Well for one thing, if there were interest shown, the point is, that it should not be directed to a personality.
PROF: Oh, absolutely. That’s what I would run away from: that’s the mistake - that’s a grave error of the first water. To focus on personalities: it’s what they do today a lot, and you know that it’s so distasteful. They think that by bandying names about they get people interested. If people are interested in that - they are just no better than chickens, pecking about for a grain of truth!

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