Looking & Questioning


Looking & Questioning
by Art Ticknor

                     
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The infant human and maybe all animals other than man look at "the world" without a self-concept to refract the light. The infant or animal learns without reflection to avoid touching a hot stove or getting too close to a fire.

The older child gains guile, looking at the world through the prism of I-amness. It pursues its desires and tries to avoid its fears by projecting memory into the future and making decisions accordingly.

question mark
The shock of mortality hits some people as children, some as teens, some in later decades – probably a bell-shaped distribution. This shock may open a new line of questioning: Where did I come from (before birth), and where am I going (after death)?

Growing dissatisfaction with one's life, sometimes registering as a feeling of emptiness or incompleteness,

drives some people into further questioning: Is there some purpose to life? Is my life-experience a classroom? If so, what's the lesson it's trying to show me? Are dreams part of the teaching material? If so, what are they trying to get across?

A "rude" shock such as suddenly realizing, when driving the car on the freeway, that all activity is occurring automatically and that "you" aren't doing it, or a mere turning of the inner head and seeing that the self you believed yourself to be is nothing but a mental construct, a phantom, brings some people to the ultimate question of existence: Then who or what am I, really?

There is living without questioning, which is equivalent to sleep-walking, but life doesn't typically allow that to go on indefinitely. Disappointments, failures, rejections, sickness, loss – these and other afflictions try to wake us up. There's a progression of questioning as the sleepwalker, blind to the Light despite having his eyes open, struggles to see.

What's your question?


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