So, again, are all things connected? Yes, that makes sense to me. But what does that entail? What are the implications of that? Problems arise when the concept of the one and the many is prejudiced in favor of either one. It is not the one or the many but the one as many and the many as one in all cases.
My particular concern is happiness and the elucidation of the views of Bruce DiMarsico, creator of the Option Method. My search is for a good way to represent the "initial conditions" of his philosophy. The philosophy itself, the Method, has been explained by Bruce himself in a number of volumes, so I don¹t seek to repeat what has already been superlatively said. Rather, what I might possibly be able to add is a way of understanding The Option that might be of interest to those who have found it to be of personal value in their lives or of occasional readers who might be curious as to how Bruce¹s work fits into the larger portrait of human thinking.What follows is simply speculation, speculation based upon my own many years of utilizing and explicating the Option Method and of meditating upon its implications.A possible point of departure can be found in the objections raised by some to the assertions of the Method.
The prime assertion is that unhappiness is not real or actual in an ontological sense. Rather it is a belief, but such a basic and powerful belief that it underlies every human culture and institution to one degree or another. In that sense it to some degree reflects an understanding found in orthodox Christian traditions of original sin. That is that humans are flawed at the root by virtue of having made a primal decision against the Divine in the Garden of Eden.Therefore, the progeny of Adam and Eve were banned from Paradise and condemned to evolve/wander the earth bearing this basic, primal faulth which acted as a kind of cognitive emotional inevitable added factor coloring and weighting just about every human act. It is an extra kind of gravity that tugs in the direction of the” wrong" decisions about how to live and conduct oneself as a human. Therefore a primal condition of deserved mistrust of self is one of the essential dimensions of the "initial conditions" of being human. The task then is always to be attempting to overcome this fault and return to some state of "innocence."
Thus the notion of being primally flawed at the root is written into the basic code of human experience. While not all cultures share this Christian notion, all cultures do share a sense of the inevitability of human unhappiness. And not only its inevitability, but its appropriateness. Unhappiness then is in a real sense aimed at being a kind of remedy for the primal fault of humans: their rightful mistrust of themselves. Cultures aim in one form or another at overcoming or at taking that basic mistrust into account. In this possibility space it is impossible by definition to do anything else than to tinker with the implications of basic mistrust. Moral systems of greater and lesser degrees of severity are put in place to chasten and constrain this basic chirality in the direction of "wrongness" what I have called the Unbearable Wrongness of Being (eBook by that title available on Amazon.)
So no matter how one struggles and strives, most cultures do not offer any more than paradigms of correction, of approximations of being in a better place, with the constant reminder that any achievement of bliss or complete happiness lies outside this realm and might only be realized in some other, supernatural dimension provided the individual passes the test of dealing with their basic flaw by following the dictates of that culture's remedial moral vision of values and personal/social conduct.
One distinct exception to this general overview can be found in Buddhism. The Buddha overcame the initial conditions of human suffering caused by faulty choices in engaging the self and world by cutting the Gordian knot of apparent intractable human suffering and unhappiness. He declared all reality to be an illusion, the self to be an illusion and therefore all human decisions and strivings to be illusory. The self is the cause of suffering. Here he agrees in this sense with the primary appraisal of other cultures. His solution is to get rid of the self. No self, no suffering.
Of course this raises an obvious paradox, since the only instrument available to the self to achieve its own annihilation is the self itself! And so the self must embark upon a rather rigorous path of asceticism and meditation to disappear like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. On the way to self annihilation, the Buddha and his historical followers and explicators created a regimen that does encourage kindness, compassion, gratitude and yes, happiness. But personal happiness here is a transient side effect of evolving toward non-self and so still has an ambiguous position in this cultural philosophical system.
The main problem is that Buddhism elevates the ONE and finds the root of misery in the MANY, in all attempts at self differentiation. Reality is not an evolving of endless patterns of differentiation joined by the kinship of self similarity, but rather a formless matrix which is the goal and refuge from the illusory generative realm of maya.
Non-being is the goal, an impossible goal since as noted earlier there is no ONE without the MANY and vice versa. They are transforms of an underlying truth: greater and greater complexity and differentiation is the never-ending fruit of the infinite abundance of IS in its predicative state as BEING! Seeking the "extinction of being" vs. seeking the "combustion of being!" That is the fundamental difference!