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Discomfort is the Mother of All Philosophy

First off, I started with an unhappiness.  Swami Krishananda a genius by all accounts says it well, “Discomfort is the mother of all philosophy.”  I go further to say that discomfort is the mother of all progress.  Some say war is the goad of technical progress.  Physical pain begets technical progress, emotional pain spawns spiritual and philosophical progress. 

Naturally in the society I was born to, the child of a phenomenal child and adolescent psychiatrist, I tried the physical to solve the emotional first.  I was given a diagnosis and medication to match my discomfort. You have Minimal Brain Dysfunction son, and this pill will help you to concentrate. 

Of course no American boy, or any boy for that matter, wants to believe he needs pills because his brain does not work.  Furthermore, all tests showed me well into the genius range.  Yet how was it that I had a “chemical imbalance.”  So I took pills sometimes. 

All colors, shapes, sizes and times.  Morning for one, maybe evening for another.  Yeah, none of them helped.  Not to mention I would never believe that I needed medication.  My issue was inability to communicate.  In my heart I knew I was right in the way that all mavericks know that they are. 

So I set about changing the world.  I was going to make it safe and efficient for people like me.  Those who knew the answer yet could not make others understand.  These early attempts did nothing other than punish me.  My teachers never thanked me for correcting their grammar, or pointing out the logical inconsistencies in their reasoning. 

No matter, God would accept me, church would.  Besides, my parents told me that they could not prove the existence of God, so that they could not answer my questions about God.  So I went to talk to the religious.  The
USA was Christian, so I talked to followers of Christ.

Phew.  This was no better than school.  In fact, it was far worse.  In school, the teacher rarely contradicted me when I kindly pointed out her error.  She just turned red and this vein popped out on her temple.  Then I thought it was a sign of concentration.  Although this is true, it is a specific type of concentration. 

It is concentrating on controlling one’s throbbing popping frustration.  Or, in simple words, it was anger.  Nonetheless, she would consequently tell me to sit down regardless of my eloquence and generosity with my intellect.  Sometimes I even got to leave class, though I learned this was a bad thing. 

In church, the instructors inevitably tried to say that their illogic was faith.  I thought to myself, “Hmph, not being able to explain something that sounds good but is unproveable equals faith.”  I decided to try it at school. 

On my next exam, which happened to be spelling.  As usual I did not study, and as usual my grade was in the top range.  One thing was different this time.  When I was given the test to correct my errors and resubmit, I just wrote that it is faith that I believe that my spelling is the more accurate and the phonetic one, in fact, it is a better explanation than the one the book gives.  The book gives none. 

This did not go over well.  My instructor informed me, I wish I could say kindly, that faith is for religion, not classwork.  If I wanted to exercise faith, I ought to have faith in the teacher that she is right.  Here more insight found me.  So, faith is believing in the story an adult says is the better one. 

Uh-oh.  Now I have a real conundrum.  I decided to test it on my mother.  She worked most of the time, so I did not bring these questions to her in a blasé fashion.  I made sure to marshal my points, plan my approach, engineer fallbacks to resistance and bulwarks of support. 

My mom came home from work that night and asked me, how did school go.  I told her that I got sent to the principal again for arguing with the teacher.  She narrowed her eyes and wrinkled her forehead.  I sensed a dazzling display of elegance.  Mom was about to assist me. 

Before I continue, I ought to explain that assistance in my family might mean something different than in yours.  For most families, assistance makes your load lighter immediately.  Your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, or parents, help you to carry your heavy load.  How nice. 

In my family assistance means that my load gets heavier now and lighter later.  To a child, this means that assistance makes things heavier and heavier.  So before she could render her help, or more accurately, render the fat off of my ignorance, I interrupted.  Here I was and am spoiled by her. 

She always allowed me to present my case.  It was required of me to present reasoning to the best of my ability at all times.  Here is the case.  I said, “Mom, have faith in me, I know what I am doing.   I am finding the truth.”  This produced a quizzical look. 

My mother rarely did anything in contrast with her steady nature.  Even though she raised her voice quite a bit, let’s face it, she screamed at us, she always did it in a consistent manner.  Thus, quizzical, is a good result.  I have said something intriguing.  I may yet get a reprieve.  No assistance may be necessary-please, please, please. 

What I did not know, was that mom was preparing to discuss two delicate concepts which I had so deliberately dropped.  Faith, and Truth.  A pistol shot cracked somewhere in the annals of my ancestral memory.  This generation’s heat had begun.  The first leg of the only race I would ever really run began. 

“What do you mean by truth, Gouthum?” 

“I mean mom, that which is always so everywhere.”  Okay she nodded. 

“No what do you mean by Faith?”  Ooohhhh.  Here is the tough one. 

“The missionaries you let me talk to said that faith is knowing that what God says is true, without being able to prove it.” 

She paused and took a drink of her evening beverage. 

Silence has been a paradox to me until recently.  For, the quieter it gets outside, the louder my reasoning rattles inside.  Thus the quieter it gets for everyone else, the noisier it gets for me!  Hence I was compelled to fill that quietness of others with internal quietness for me-speaking. 

Thus I spake.  “Faith means believing that which you cannot see but know to be true.”  This, in my most matter of fact tones.  You see, I knew I was an authority.  I beamed. 

Mom’s silence continued. 

After what seemed an eternity, so, about a minute in Gou-time, she spoke. 

Gouthum, how can you know that which is so everywhere at all times based on what you cannot prove?  I said, “You are supposed to help mom.  I don’t know, that is why I am trying to figure out.” 

By | 2007-04-19T07:23:46+00:00 April 19th, 2007|Perspectives, Philosophy|0 Comments

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