Clarity in the midst of contradictions and confusion

Clarity in the midst of a hysterical panic about confusing contradictions

Entering from California

Entering from California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you know that there is a border between the US states of Arizona and California. Imagine two people standing a few feet apart on either side of the border boundary (a signpost or fence or whatever). The one in California points east to Arizona and says “the border is to the east.” The one in Arizona points west to California and says “no, the border is to the west.”

Can you get the silliness of that? Then they are startled and confused and frustrated that someone disagrees with them so they panic and yell (as if that will help their frustration) and soon they get in to a fist fight and eventually die of their wounds.

Now, I have just described to you how most people relate to… almost everything, certainly a lot of political “debate.” There is no “injustice” and no “east” and no “fundamental rights” outside of you. There are developments that you can observe and sense and then interpret and label.

In my example above, I could have used “right and left” instead of “east and west” or I could have used “right and wrong.” I picked a ridiculous example so that you would not have a hysterical outburst of panic and rage about my example, so your understanding would not be clouded by inaccurate presumptions and confusion and hysteria and rage and shame and hostility, as in terrified panicking.

Figure 2: Simple-minded frame-of-reference example

Figure 2: Simple-minded frame-of-reference example (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JJ replied: 

so you are making some reference as to the perspective of two people or two groups ….. please make this same example work using up and down…. this changes the frame of reference so it is the same for each of the protagonist. and please leave your rage shame and hostility wherever you keep it when not in use.

JR replies:

The issue is not when there are two people who use language consistently. The issue is when there is a contradiction.

Contradiction only exists in language. There are no contradictions external to you. There are only linguistic contradictions. Contradiction could involve two contrasting “dictions” (sayings). If there is a ironic conflict between a linguistic statement and some external reality, we might also call that a “contradiction.”

Regarding your request about “up and down,” it is like when there are two people at the top and bottom of a stairway and a fire in the middle between them. One of them wants to argue about whether the fire is below or above (up or down). That one may be hysterical. That one may scream at the other person to agree with them. That is focusing on the language and not on the fire.

English: United States Supreme Court building ...

English: United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., USA. Front facade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For another instance, as the US government begins to implement the same policies that it has been implementing worldwide for decades here at home in the US (like in Boston recently), some people will argue hysterically “but that is unconstitutional!” Unconstitutional is a category in language. When the ruling priesthood of the US (the supreme judges of the court of the rulers’ rules) DICTATES that something is unconstitutional, that may be more important than what you or I say. When the Congress passes a new amendment revoking some other amendment, that is a constitutional reform. What is LEGALLY unconstitutional or constitutional can change in two ways: the Supreme Court issues a new ruling or the constitution is changed (or a treaty supersedes it and so forth, like when the ruling powers of Europe took over the US government without firing a shot by placing the Federal Reserve System OVER the existing national government of the US).

Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow W...

Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow Wilson signs creation of the Federal Reserve. Source: Date: 24 December 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The idea that there is a POWERFUL constitution made of paper with powerful shapes of magic ink on the powerful paper is government propaganda. Bullets and bombs have always been the only authority behind that ink on that paper, as well as the only authority behind any court-dictated currency, etc etc etc….

Federal reserve police car, St. Louis, MO

Federal reserve police car, St. Louis, MO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A sunset in the Arizona desert near Scottsdale...

A sunset in the Arizona desert near Scottsdale. The climate and imagery are two factors behind Arizona’s tourism industry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, in conclusion, confusion is a sign of inaccurate presumptions. The mature respond to this by correcting their presumptions or at least slowing down with a humble curiosity. The terrified will blame some external trigger for their internal experience of confusion, leading to resentment, hostility, rage, and so on.

That is the basic teaching of the Buddha (the 3rd noble truth, which the prior 2 simply lead up to). However, the vast majority of people who have been exposed to that teaching may have very little actual comprehension of it.

They still think of suffering as something that happens to them. Suffering is something that humans do. It is an activity, a habit, a behavior.

Mostly, suffering is a way to relate to life or label life or interpret life- using language. Suffering is to attribute the cause of confusion to external developments as “what should not be” and then attempt to reform external reality and prevent it from being “what it should not be.” That is the nature of what ancient Hebrew scholars called “hell.”


Only the humble enter heaven and experience the peace of heaven because only the humble are willing to consider that their linguistic practices may be factors in their experience of confusion. This is not a moral superiority. Any who could get in to heaven would. This is an issue of  spiritual development, only accessible by grace.


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