//

The fundamental koan and the problem of pain

The art of armor is not merely that of strength, rigidity and hardness, but also deflection, crumpling, disruption.

Koans are tested by the pain of life, and every lie in their construction is a weak point that guarantees failure and collapse.

Human strength is finite. Everyone has a breaking point except Jesus Christ. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Death is no more frightening than sleep or pre-birth, but pain can always break me.

Koans must be designed, therefore, to break. Not once, but many times. And then to recover, forget, and move forward, as Nature intended.

Torment is Nature suggesting, "Stop moving. Maybe you'll live."

Why should she care that she screams too loudly at the unfixable? They're irrelevant. As for survivors, she designed them all to eagerly forget.

Consciousness is a fixed cost. Torture is thermodynamically cheap. Carrot and stick are for maximum genetic impact, and nothing more. Addicts and suicides are acceptable attrition.

I recently had the privilege to revisit a .5/5 QoL rating for several days, meaning enforced horizontal unproductivity, pseudo-sleep, and regular paralyzing pain spikes to suicidal ideation levels. (My acute pain breaking point is high enough that immobilization prevents acting upon suicidal impulses, so skip the intervention. It's just a reference point.)

At aforementioned acuteness, I think thoughts such as "I give up" and start visualizing practical immediate suicide methods. IIRC there's a level past that at 0/5 that's semi-coherent begging: "Please God Please God".

What sort of koan can survive that crucible? Nothing, of course.

Therefore, in the face of the unstoppable psychic force, be as grass beneath the hoof: bend, be crushed, then slowly rise back.

Koans are about truth above all, and the truth is the hoof will always break the mind. Therefore the foundation of the koans is the truth of brokenness:

"I give up. Kill myself. Please God." (IGU KM PG)

This is a strange foundation. Memento mori is a popular Stoic emblem, but death holds little fear for one drawn to Stoicism, who already lives in his own mind, and knows that cessation of mind is cessation of suffering. Memento mori is supposed to be the heroic foundation, whereas the pain foundation smacks of cowardice and surrender.

But all of that is a lie. Willingness to suffer is what defines the hero, not willingness to die. And the truth of suffering is that the hoof always wins.

By keeping the echo of true pain alive, this foundation sets all other pain in perspective. It prompts the question, "Is it time to break?" Almost always, the answer is no. The current level of pain is accepted, and the next koan up is triggered, to guide one's actions.

Prudence is the reduction of the probability of true pain, and without that there is no wisdom. God is to be feared because He holds the power of eternal torment.

Women are denied prudence so that they may embrace childbirth, but for men, it is better to give than to receive. The reality of torment permits submission to a flawed hierarchy without dishonor.

If you lie to yourself that you won't break, then breaking will break your integrity as well. Don't be the doomed vertebrate writhing beneath the hoof. Learn from the blade: fiber beats backbone.

The least you can do to alleviate your future physical suffering is to face it with a serene heart. Believe me when I say that psychic and physical torment are best endured separately. They multiply.

Having a personality crisis amidst physical torment can lead to long term personality damage, since humans personality is designed to become malleable under physical torment, as a survival mechanism against ostracism and to permit tribal initiation via hazing trial. For example, militaries use this during boot camp to convince young men of the necessity of advancing into bullets for plutocrats and priests.

Publish At: Author:Leo Littlebook

Read more posts by this author

comments powered by Disqus