Becoming a Master

So I’ve sort of come to that realization I should have many years before in my life: most people are not going to change. Not one iota. Some do (and thank god for them) but most don’t. Philosophy is for like 1% of the population, really, and at 25 I’ve pretty much already concluded that will likely never change.

Why should they, though? That’s kind of what I want to explore.

Something that occurred me was along the lines of this: It’s easier to become a master at whatever you are already doing than it is to change yourself. The easiest is just to coast along through life without putting forth effort one way or another, but even easier than choosing some subjective other path (that, socio-economically, may be a more relevant path to take), is to simply get good at what you already do.

Be good or be good at it, you could say.

Whenever I watch someone who is truly amazing at what they do I find that they have attained a sort of peace with the universe. Be it flipping ice-cream cones, to trolling online, to automotive repair --whatever-- it’s something you know what you see it. It stands out, and it should.

When it stands out in such a way that people ask themselves ‘Wow, you spend all that time practicing that’ it may be because, in the quasi-objective way that we evaluate these things, it doesn’t really have much of a relevancy or lucrative use, but it is still fundamentally a subjective thing. The guy who flips ice-cream cones like a god may have developed into a spiritual fountain in the process of doing so. He might even know how to read.

Some would argue that, no matter what the exercise, mastery of anything (excluding maybe drug use and a few others) is the path to enlightenment. I am not sure if I believe this or not, but I think I do.

Sadly, at 25 you’re already one of those who’ll never change. #-o

Men don’t change in general (except at mid-life crisis).

Mastery of anything has nothing to do with our intellectual capabilities - and everything to do with our intellectual capacity. A master doesn’t rely on reading… in his (or her) practice the world disappears and there is nothing but the practice. They aren’t doing the practice, they become the practice.

As I recall, you enjoy or did enjoy shooting hoops. When you were “on”, were you aware of things you had read? Were you aware of your thoughts? Driving to the basket, were you even aware of you? Mastery and the practice occurs when we let go the abstractions and become the experience.

Mastery comes when we no longer say, why that?, but THAT.

How does one decide what is change? Where is that fixed point in anyone’s life from which to measure this thing called change? I would suggest that who, what, and how we are is a constantly evolving process and that “change” is the pervasive environment. You cannot not change. Does this lead to enlightment? Perhaps. Through practice and mastery, one sheds the abstractions and awareness replaces knowing and becomes KNOWING. I would guess that is what you see when observing mastery.

All of the knowing that comes from philosophy and the reading of books may be a small part of the experience of living, but they are not, and can never be the EXPERIENCE.

I think mastery in a given area is more accidental than anything else. I know people who are really good at what they do because they love doing it, that’s how they got really good. I don’t know a whole lot of people who are really good at things they get no enjoyment out of and still actively do. So the enlightenment could stem from the sheer enjoyment, along with immersion it brings and things of that sort.

But there is more to it. The time investment is an issue for a lot of people in today’s busy world. I love painting, but I am terrible at it. And I will continue to be terrible at, most likely forever, simply because I can’t do it as much as I need to in order to actually get good. I could change my life around, personally and professionally, to make room for painting. But those changes would be dramatic and ultimately would leave me with a lesser version of my life. So in that, I don’t change. But is that bad? I don’t think so. My wife and my family and my friends bring me more joy than painting does, most of the time anyway. I could put more effort into painting I suppose, at the risk of killing the enjoyment of it, in order to attain some mastery of it. But what would be the point of that? I used to be really good at drawing but stopped doing it because I essentially grew to resent it.

So which is better or worse? Sometimes coasting through life is a mastery in itself. I’m definately coasting through life, as far as how I would describe it, and I love it. My life has been very enjoyable for the most part and I’m not looking to change that.

Or he might have at least found one. Which is I think what happens -
life is short, and attaining mastery of one thing is more rewarding than approaching competence in many things.
Also the singularity of a skill is rewarding, it puts the mind at ease.
And why would people change, if they are doing okay?
As Pandora elucidates, people only change in crisis.

Low blow! I resemble that remark!

I feel this is fairly accurate… If you have expierienced any dramatic changes through your life, they tend to happen in times of personal crisis. At least that is what I can observe in my life, as well as the people I am in contact with. But can you go so far as to say that NO one really changes? Or are you saying the percentage of people who DO change, without crisis, is fairly minute?

I believe what you are describing is a mix of ego, complacency and aversion.
When an idea gets egotistical and develops a self, it doesn’t want to die, it doesn’t want to stop being itself, therefor it solidifies.
People could be way better, but they aren’t. Allot of bad things have been done by people who are free from abuse, mind control, possession, aliens, propaganda and all of that. They just do it because they want to, that includes wanting to fit in and conform. There’s a more complex reason which causes want, but i wont go into that for now.

Certain species of animals don’t have an ego.
They run on instincts which don’t really change, but that’s because they can’t.

On my little vision adventures i had an experience.
There was a skunk spirit.
I asked him if he wanted to be improved, and he said yes.
I asked him if he wanted to be more intelligent, and he said yes.
I asked why, he said sometimes he remembered being confused and frustrated, he wanted to know but couldn’t.
I asked him what he wanted to be, did he want to be a skunk, or something else?
There was a long pause. He tried hard to think. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to be.
That’s because he didn’t comprehend what it would be like to be a new being, and how to become a new being.
So then we used our technology to help him change form.
Once he got smarter, he realized that he wanted to me more.
He wanted to grow and change allot.

Why don’t people want to grow and change allot? Do they not want to perfect themselves? Do they disrespect perfection? Do they even comprehend perfection? Some people love self improvement, but most don’t. They sustain their bodies, they try to make money, but they aren’t really trying to improve -what- they are. In this way i believe that humans have many strange defects which run against evolutionary progress.

I think you hold the word “enlightenment” very lowly.
What if a soldier gets perfect at being a soldier, then adolf gets him to kill a bunch of innocent polish civilians?
How enlightened is that?

When we get good at something, we can still misuse that goodness.

The true meaning of virtue, is the path to enlightenment.
Comassionate deeds are the path to enlightenment.
Sitting around focusing on your breathing doesn’t make you enlightened.
So many people have missed the point completely.
Enlightenment is a form of morality.