The former is preferable without doubt, to be born stupid into an intelligent society, because you can become less stupid, and chances are you will if everyone around you is intelligent, and because you’re changing you, not someone else and not a system.
The latter option, to be born intelligent into an insane society – which one could argue many are living in today, I feel like I am – is more difficult. You could try to find someone else to make a meet up or an aren’t we smart club with, but more than likely you will just go mad as you tilt at the windmill of the insanity around you.
I think insane societies are that way because somehow the majority has finally – usually after a generation and more of convincing – fully believed colossal lies about themselves and their lives. They are so huge we call them orthodoxies; they are virtually impossible to dislodge.
A final note about the premise of the question: are we born one way or the other? More than likely we’re nurtured into ignorance or enlightenment.
Aldous Huxley asks:
“which is better – to be born stupid into an intelligent society or intelligent into an insane one?”
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: Alain Daniélou, ganas, Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus
Is god respectable or is he wild? The vast majority of his priests – ecumenically speaking, in each of his manifestations, sects and religions – would fall – would they err? – on the side of respectability: ethical, orderly. Here is the other view via Alain Danielou, Gods of Love and Ecstasy.
God’s – the Shivaite and Dionysian variety – companions are on the one hand joyful, courageous, imaginative, youthful and harmonious; and on the other, mockers of authority and law and anti bourgeois. These are of course twin qualities: to flourish we must rid ourselves of anti flourishing agents.
From Gods of Love:
In Shivaite tradition, the god’s companions are described as a troupe of freakish, adventurous, delinquent and wild young people, who prowl in the night, shouting in the storm, singing, dancing and ceaselessly playing outrageous tricks on sages and gods. They are called Ganas, the “Vagabonds”, corresponding to the CretanKorybantes and the Celtic Korrigans (fairies’ sons). Like the Sileni and Satyrs, some of them have goats’ or birds’ feet. The Ganas mock the rules of ethics and social order. They personify the joy of living, courage and imagination, which are all youthful values. They live in harmony with nature and oppose the destructive ambition of the city and the deceitful moralism which both hides and expresses it. These delinquents of heaven are always there to restore true values and to assist the “god-mad” who are persecuted and mocked by the powerful. They personify everything which is feared by and displeases bourgeois society, and which is contrary to the good morale of a well-policed city and its palliative concepts.
— Alain Daniélou, Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus
From Reason & Existenz
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: George Friedmann, La Puissance de la sagesse, Philosophy as a Way of Life, Pierre Hadot, spiritual exercises
Here is the sociologist Georges Friedmann’s description of spiritual exercises. He says activism – outward, worldly, political work – may usher in the revolution, but for whom? Better to do the ‘necessary’ inward work, through spiritual exercises, that readies us to live freely post revolution.
Here is Friedmann via Hadot:
To take flight every day! At least for a moment, which may be brief, as long as it is intense. A “spiritual exercise” every day – either alone, or in the company of someone who also wishes to better himself. Spiritual exercises. Step out of duration … try to get rid of your own passions, vanities, and the itch for talk about your own name, which sometimes burns you like a chronic disease. Avoid backbiting. Get rid of pity and hatred. Love all free human beings. Become eternal by transcending yourself.
This work on yourself is necessary; this ambition justified. Lots of people let themselves be wholly absorbed by militant politics and the preparation for social revolution. Rare, much more rare, are they who, in order to prepare for the revolution, are willing to make themselves worthy of it.
George Friedmann La Puissance de la Sagesse, quoted by Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life