The Meaning of Life
Lecture 3: Belief and Suffering

1. Animal Interpretation
2. Belief and Suffering
3. Job (Our Job)
4. On Sufferings

March 9, 2012

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 1:2-8


Greetings and welcome to lecture three of the meaning of life. In lecture two we spoke of the painter, that is the expressionist who is attempting to articulate the abstract to the audience that he feels most in need of what inspiration that he or she has to offer and their manipulation of the tools of expression that they possess in order to most effectively communicate that meaning.

In this lecture we will be speaking of belief and suffering and their interconnections. For belief brings about a sense of security and we are then given hope for our lives. This belief that I am speaking of can be about anything; we are not necessarily limiting our self to God and belief in God will be spoken about in lecture seven. This brings about a sense of finality to our lives for when we have achieved these beliefs we are then in the position to relax and no longer search for new beliefs.

A belief stands as something that we can commit ourselves to even though we do not understand or are able to know. This finality allows us to condense ourselves into one aspect. It gives us a sense of belonging, for when we believe we can also others who believe similarly or the same and group ourselves within them. Then we are able to be united and have a community of belivers directed towards a certain aspect. This in turn creates diversity and we can see this throughout history. The example that we will use in this lecture is only one of many is that of Jesus. When Jesus died many different Jesus "sects" formed and there were many followers of Jesus who then interpreted Jesus' works and life in different manners.

Most of these sects fought against each other and there was a lot of blood shed that went into that. And in the end one power won. What happened is that Saint Paul was the one to not create Christianity but pave a way for modern Christian thought. The apologist then guided the church and formed an organised religion. And this organised religion then created dogmatic doctrines to follow and in order to achieve this they had to stamp out their competition and their competition were other forms of Jesus movements. So we have different interpretations being eradicated into one interpretation and eventually this formed into Christianity as we know it today.

We see this creating diversity everywhere and not just that diversity within religions because Christianity was no longer Jewish as it was taken over the Gentiles. And the Jewish people were no longer saved. And then the Muslim people came along which were monotheistic, which even Christianity claims monotheism but they worship three gods: Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God. And that is polytheism any way you look at it so modern Christianity is not actually a monotheistic religion. But in saying that Jesus did not claim that he was God and he pointed to God.

But these are just different interpretations and what you see today within the organised Christian and Catholic church is a result of this one interpretation. And it creates diversity everywhere. The way that I have interpreted it is that Jesus opened the way to God to everybody. I understand that Jesus opened and paved a way for all to reach God and this is not through dogmatic doctrines. But this is a different story and we will not be talking about that any further. Sorry I got on a little bit of a rant, this was not supposed to be in this lecture.

So we see that this creates mob mentality, a "you are with us or against us" which is George Bush's famous saying. Jesus actually said in Luke is that those who are not against me are with me. So we have different perceptions of understanding here and this coming from George Bush who is supposedly a Christian. We then reach self-righteousness, for I am right and I will put this flag in the ground and say that there is no other difference. That I can not be disputed because I have found this truth and I will close my ears to any other things because other things harm my ears. But this is not what is being preached, for Jesus preaches that what goes into a man does not matter but what comes out of a man does. But these are not really recongised. A lot of times organised religion will preach this but not follow. There is a lot of hypocrisy. And I am getting off track again because I have a lot of views so I will get back on track. But this creates self-righteousness and people being sturdy in their beliefs and will not hear out their fellow human being because of what they believe and they do not want to hear it any other way. This in turn puts ear plugs in those individual's ears and they become close minded.

I am going to go on now to Buddhism and the teachings of it about suffering because we have talked about belief for the last ten minutes and now we are going to speak about suffering. The whole objection for Buddhism is the cessation of suffering, so the end of suffering. That was Buddha's goal for everything, Siddhartha Gautama who later became the illustrious Buddha. And he found enlightenment through finding a way to overcome this suffering. He had a choice whether to help the world or to just stay in the forest with what he had learned and he was unsure of whether he should. He was seriously debating to just stay and be one with all things and then he decided that he wanted to help, but he didn't think that others had ears to hear but it turned out that they did.

So in order to efficiently convey his message, remember the painter, and according to his era he needed to create dogmatic doctrines that people could follow to surpass suffering. And that is what he did, but we are just going to hear these out. I want to say that these dogmatic doctrines are not close minded. He was very open with many things. As far as dogmas go, Buddha's is one of the better ones. So then get to the cessation of suffering: how are we to stop suffering? He found the origin of suffering. As if you want to fix a car you have to find out what the problem of the car is. If you want to fix a computer you have to find out the problem and then you have to focus on the problem and repair what the actually problem is.

And he says that the problem with suffering is that we "cling". And we cling to all things, so we are clinging to our material. We are clinging to our TV, we are clinging to our phone. We are clinging to our friends and our work and music and entertainment and alcohol and all these different vices, which we are going to talk about vices and virtues later. But we are clinging to all of these things and this is causing our suffering because all of these things, and not just these things: those are the material, we also have ideals. We are clinging to these ideals as the greatest good and these ideals also let us down. But he is saying that all of these things actually cause our suffering, for when they are removed from our life or when we get tired of them, let us say we get a new phone, we are so excited but two months later there is another phone out and our phone becomes crap. So we then want to get another phone and we suffer with the phone that we have. So we are always looking towards the future but never being content that we have.

So these are the things that are causing our suffering. And in order to go beyond that suffering, to pass that suffering, is to "uncling" from these things. And as we uncling from these things (which is a process) then we slowly overcome suffering. And Buddha saw how people, especially in his time, would most likely not be able to do this in one lifetime. He then shared a doctrine on recurrence and he explained it as a flame. So you have two candles, one goes out "death" and then to another and you get reincarnated into either a higher being or a lower being. And how you were reincarnated depended how you lived your life. And through his doctrines you could live a good life. I have studied his doctrines and living his doctrines you can live a good life. So we will go on from Buddhism because I do not want to spend all day on it, I mean we might come back to bits and pieces of it later but I just wanted to explain the outline to you.

We go on to Eckhart Tolle and he is alive and well today and very inspirational. He is one of the spiritual leaders of the world and he says that the reason that we suffer is because we feel that we should not have to suffer. So I suffer because I feel that I should not have to suffer. And I suffer because I feel that my child should not have to suffer. Or I suffer because I feel that something should not be the way that it is. And through this Tolle suggests that we can get beyond it through acceptance. So if we learn how to accept all things then we are able to get beyond suffering.

This then leads us to Jonah, and if we think back to lecture one where you read Jonah, I asked you to remember his suffering. Do you remember why it was that Jonah suffered? Well there is a few reasons but what we are going to be talking about in this lecture is the vine. God grows a vine for Jonah and it was a wonderful shade to protect him from the scorching sun. And Jonah was pleased and happy. But then the next day the vine withered away by being eaten by an insect or something like that, a worm I think it was. Then Jonah suffers again and goes, "I want to die, you know I can't even get good shade. You give me shade and then you take it away." And God goes to Jonah, "You had nothing to do with this vine. I was the one who presented this vine to you and now that it is gone why are you angry at me? This was never yours to begin with." I want us to think about that in accordance with all of these other topics that we are discussing.

We are now going to speak of the human condition. The human condition is our suffering, and each human from what I perceive and what I understand, is different. The core of it is very similar but we each go through different things and we each experience different things. We each have a different life and we all have the reasons why we do the things that we do. From our experience I am postulating that we have slightly different aspects of this human condition. And this is why one person's wisdom can be different from another person's wisdom and both still be valid. Our human condition is then our battle. This is our life purpose. And this is important because this is the whole purpose of this course. To overcome our human condition is then the purpose in life. Then if you want to share with others your journey to overcome your human condition, you can then best live your life for the future of humankind.

This is another topic that we will speak about later with Why Act Morally?. So why should we do that? But right now what I am saying is that the human condition is something to be overcome and when we overcome it is something to be shared. And when we share it we become "the expressionist" and we then are helping others overcome theirs. And there are so many people out there that need it. So... We need you! We need your overcoming of the condition. I say overcoming and overcome because we can learn from the painter's image within the process of overcoming and not just overcome. So don't say, "oh I will do that when I overcome it", but the process is part of it.

Most people that I see... you got to realise that I am working with the life that I live within the experience that I understand and I see a world of sleepwalkers. The sleepwalkers avoid the fact. They avoid these issues because they take solace in ignorance. This is a blind ignorance; they know that they are ignorant. They choose to be ignorant because they do not want to face these hard topics. And to turn and face your human condition instead of running away from it is no easy task and it in itself will cause more suffering than you could ever imagine until you face it. But once you slay your dragons then are in the best position to stand up and take your life back.

This then is transcendence. And this is the striving that we as humankind must take on. This is the cross that we must bare in order to overcome the human. And the human is something to overcome and become and go beyond. And that is what Nietzsche's life purpose was: beyond good and evil, beyond the self, beyond morality and that was what he was talking about. So how do we do this? Well we have vices. And these vices are the ones that cause our suffering. We obtain these vices, and you can find out what your vices are for when you take them away you will suffer. To find out your vices and then figure out methods to overcome them is facing your dragon. And to find out your vices is no easy task, especially when they have been repressed by your subconscious. When they are hidden away because you don't want to deal with them. When they have been hidden away for so long they become very difficult to find.

So this not something you can snap your fingers: this is a life project. And I am not saying that it is going to take you your entire life. I have just recently overcome. I have continued to overcome. I have become more at every moment. But I have just recently, over the past four or five months accepted and become what I am. And I had to go through much pain and suffering in order to get where I am. And I can't say that I no longer suffer, but suffering is no longer something that I identify with. And this is something that causes our suffering, is identification. And when we identify with the thing as being part of us, we label and compartmentalise our self into this or that. And we then suffer when that suffers. So when you break your phone you suffer because you identified that phone as being part of you. And it is the identifying that causes great amounts of our suffering.

I have an article on this if you would like to read that called, The Identification Process. It is a painting for you to consider. This course is not going to spoon feed you everything. So I might direct you to different places and I might name drop a lot of things, and it is up to you to follow those up. I am introducing you to a lot of these subjects. I understand identification to be heavily connected with suffering. And belief is heavily connected with identification. Therefore you have belief and suffering and they are together like this. And if we remove these and realise what they are, which is nothing because they do not exist - there is no existence to them. They are conceptions that our human condition has created from a result of many different factors. Much I believe... I understand to be part of our society and the way that it conditions us to be, for example using the word "belief" so recklessly. And I myself have been trying to work out of that over the last year or so. Using belief here and belief there. But if you listen to anyone that is speaking around you will notice that it is "believe this, believe that, believe that. And we are all trying with different people through beliefs. And we are unable to effectively then create close relationships because if there is beliefs that conflict, we are then out of that.

But in saying that I am no better with effective relationships. But that is because I do not like beliefs and I don't like when people believe in things that are unhealthy. I will not put myself in a situation that is unhealthy for me. And I learned that through my divorce, and I am not going to go on too much about that, but I choose where I am at all times. And if I am in an unhealthy situation, you see I went through ten years with my ex-wife of an unhealthy relationship. When there is people that passionately commit their beliefs to unhealthy traits then I will not stick around regardless of the circumstances. I live in the wilderness so it does not matter. I will walk away and I am good. But I had to create that for myself. It was a process to get to that point. Because before when I walk away I would suffer and now I am part of. Before I was an outcast of. I won't go on about this, this is my life and this is a course about your life so let's go on.

Through our purpose of overcoming these vices then we are able to create virtues from theses vices. It says in Isaiah 40:28-31 that God will use your weaknesses more than your strengths. If we look at this in consideration this is talking about overcoming this self. And I am a primary example of that. All of this speaking, all of this conversation that I am doing right now was a weakness. I have not been good at speaking. I have spent my life writing because speech was something that I could not articulate in the manner that I desired. However, with writing I was able to contemplate ideas and articulate them in a manner that was most meaningful. But people did not want to read what I had to write. So I was always in a catch-22 because I wanted to communicate through writing and others wanted me to communicate through speech, and I was terrible at speech. But as you see, I have been working and working and working on it. Not only that, the more that I learn and the more that I understand, the more that my ideas are able to flow in a better manner.

You see, my articulation within speech has been difficult for the fact that my brain has always worked so fast that I have been in the position that I would lose my train of thought extremely quickly. So I would go on about something and then I would go, "oh, what were we talking about?" and this would cause many hardships within conversation and I would be treated like I did not know what I was talking about and I would be condescended from that. So this is my awakening to to being able to communicate effectively. Because speech is also one of the expressionist methods and I have been working my whole life on different ways of expression and over the last year I have been working on the ability to speech clear and distinctly and be able to convey my meaning through speech. And the only reason that you are now receiving this video is because I turned that vice into a virtue.

I will end the content of this lecture with an ideal. And that is to become what you are. And if you look at your vices, they are not you. And if you turn those vices into virtues then you are becoming the self that should be realised. We will be speaking about this in a future lecture but the example is an acorn. If you have an acorn and it then gets thrown into the ground and under the right conditions it can realise itself into a tree. And this is the process of the human. We need to, we realise our self, not we need to, we do. We will always be what we are and we have no ability to do any other. So if you become something grand, it is you becoming what you are. And if you don't it is still you becoming what you are and what you are just might not be grand. But the thing is that the human is not an acorn. It is not a tree, it is not a plant, it is a mobile creature. So what I am asserting here is that we are able to move around and position ourselves in the best possible soil for our particular selves. In this way we can become the grandest tree possible. We are not limited by a fluke indecent where an acorn grows in awesome conditions and becomes a marvellous tree. We are not limited by those conditions because we are a mobile and thinking creature. So we are able to become a grand tree and realise our divine selves.

Our first reading is The Book of Job. Job is a strong and faithful follower of the Divine and he gets greatly tested and this is through suffering. He suffers great amounts and then goes to God, "Why am I suffering, why am I suffering, why am I suffering?". And then God basically says, "How are you to know God's plan?". I am not going to go into details about this story because you should read it.

Our next reading is On the Sufferings of the World from Studies in Pessimism by Arthur Schopenhauer. This is Schopenhauer putting through his ideals on suffering and they are very good things to consider. I do want to say that Schopenhauer is a pessimist but he is very inspirational; his words have great meaning. And in some ways I am a pessimist but we can become more. Becoming what you are is no easy task until the time that you become a butterfly. For we have to go into a cocoon and form into the best self that is possible. This will cause copulas amounts of suffer. I want you to suffer so that you no longer have to suffer. And it is this suffering that we are to overcome if we so choose. Otherwise you will be wallowing in your own humanity until the day that you die. And if you have managed to transcend suffering then I congratulate you for that, for that is a very commendable task. And if you have I would recommend that you begin to paint for the world how it is that you overcome that suffering.

We come to an end of lecture three. I hope you enjoyed this lecture and did not suffer too much through it. And I hope it has given you direction as to the cause of suffering. I need to mention that many of these assertions that I am saying are contradictory to the history of Western philosophy, especially in regards to beliefs, for belief in Western philosophy in most cases has been considered a virtue. And through my own experience and interpretations and understandings, I have come to a different point of view about this. So I would like you to be aware that I am not preaching the doctrines of our past philosophers in regards to beliefs but am presenting my own understandings as far as them. However, when they speak of beliefs within Western philosophy, I see what they are saying, but I think that we do not need to hold on to all of those beliefs.

For me, I have one belief and one belief only. We will speak of that in lecture seven. I hope you had fun and stay safe.