I met a young man once who said to me, ‘in the future, I just want to sit on an island with my phone and tell people, buy that and sell that.’ Though young, he seemed worldly. Now when I meet a young person who already understands the goings on in this world it shocks me somewhat. It argues for a vulgar personality.
We are like lambs in a field with some unknown overlord who says, ‘today I shall kill that one, tomorrow a different one.
For, as a rule, the methods used in this world are underhanded, sneaky, they lack nobility. As the Sage has it, ‘the hypocrisy that characterizes this world from beginning to end.’ Now for a young person to enter this stage, our world, with the conditions outlined above, and feel like a fish in water, it leads me to look at two things–his parents and his intellect. The former have not done him any favours and the latter must be lacking.
When I see a young person confused, nay! shocked by what people do in this world then it argues for a noble constitution. Until we have experience in this life we have nothing to go on except our own feelings and observations. As the Poet has said, ‘life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood by looking backwards.’ The outlook of a vulgar person is only their own selfish point of view, and it always remains so. The noble-minded young person, with fine ideals, is in a very bad situation. Lacking experience he or she will tend to transfer these ideals to others and often be sadly disappointed or even hurt.
Experience is a tough teacher, and we find that as we grow older we are forced to constantly lower our opinion of Mankind. By middle age all things come clear, all shams are exposed, and it is only then that we can see others in a clear light.
If we look back on those we knew we shall see with clarity the motives behind their actions and it is generally not a very pleasant picture.
Another observation, first voiced by Lichtenberg, but something I agree with, is that when I get closer to a person I thought bad, he seems better, and when I get closer to a person I thought good, he comes across worse. I’m not sure why this is.
No animal is shocked by existence, only Man. Most people instantly accept this bizarre situation called life, and simply get on with it. Imagine that a man, who has not existed for countless millennia, suddenly finds himself on a rock hurtling through endless space. On this rock a kind of mould has appeared on the thin surface. In this mould have arisen knowing, thinking beings, who exist for a tiny fragment of time before being swallowed by Infinity.
I am told that about one hundred and ten billion humans have existed. Seven billion now do. Where are these other hundred and three billion? What has become of them? What is this strange affair that I suddenly am here, must fight and claw away to replicate my genes, and then vanish forever?
We are like lambs in a field with some unknown overlord who says, ‘today I shall kill that one, tomorrow a different one.’ The innocent destroyed along with the guilty. For what? No one knows.
The ancient mystics of Persia and China tell us not to pay any heed to this world:
‘Though from thy grasp all worldly things should flee,
Grieve not for them, for they are nothing worth:
And though a world in thy possession be,
Joy not, for worthless are the things of earth.
Since to that better world ‘tis given to thee
To pass, speed on, for this is nothing worth.’
‘It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this.’