Truth and Pleasure

What does it mean in Christianity to “Carry ones Cross?”

I remember being at a public presentation a while back given by a man whose understanding I greatly respect… During the Q&A segment at the end, I asked him how he would best differentiate between pondering and random associative thought for the quest towards understanding. I have come to believe that pondering is an essential intellectual activity while random associative thought is a hindrance. The speaker looked at me and after along moment walked towards me, looked me in the eye, and said one word: “need.” When you truly need, then you will seriously ponder.

Jacob Needleman in his book “Lost Christianity” says the following after a lecture he had been giving took an unexpected turn:

Now that is a provocative question: “does there exist in man a natural attraction to truth and to the struggle for truth that is stronger than the natural attraction to pleasure?” What is our responsibility towards it? Can it allow someone to carry their own cross?

Real philosophy which is the love of wisdom having been replaced over the years by the joy of self justification through intellectual argument, would necessitate this natural attraction or love of truth. Truths are relationships. The essence of the relationship between all things is wisdom. Wisdom experienced emotionally is deep “meaning.” How important is it and are we willing to sacrifice pleasure for the possibility of the experience of deep meaning?

My gut feeling now is that the courage necessary to open oneself to experience the “need” for meaning at the expense of the pleasures of psychological security is only truly possible for a minority in modern times. The fears and pleasurable attractions are too strong to allow for this courage. I am aware of this weakness in myself. Those like Simone Weil and the saints Prof.Needleman is referring to that have such a complete dedication to the experience of truth and meaning at the expense of themselves are considered abnormalities. It has been found collectively completely satisfactory to be satisfied with imagination and society is built on this compensation.

There is a new section on ILP called Reviews. I’ve been thinking of writing a review of the book Simone Weil wrote as she was dying called “The Need for Roots.” It refers to the needs of the soul of man incorporated into a functioning society. It is so politically incorrect that if I do this it would be necessary to write a disclaimer at the beginning to save myself from a law suit based on disturbing the peace. It would read something like “Warning! Do not read this article if you are concerned with your hair falling out, high blood pressure, indigestion, or any other such ailment normal to occur during the experience of righteous indignation through exposure to uncommon thought.”

It would be impossible. The Great Beast would never allow it. Too many things could go wrong and they all would. The book though is useful in contemplating what is lost because its benefits are impossible on a collective level. I sadly believe that collectively the needs of the soul of man can no longer be “understood.”

But maybe my normal Russian cynicism is too extreme? So dear reader, what is your take? Do you feel the possibility of a natural attraction and a sincere dedication to truth that would allow you experience it at the expense of your own pleasure and security? If not, have you known any like Simone Weil that could?

I for one, can in complete honesty, say that I do not have the time to make for absolute truth. Modern life intrudes far, and time is a commodity with which I am not accustomed.

As for a knowledge of a truth seeker, yes. Taoist Monk, and Israeli Rabbi. Both found no pleasure in pleasure, and truth was the only life direction either understood. Although, the means differed, the end was obviously the same.

Hi Mastriani

I’m not sure that I understand you. I don’t see it as making time for truth; rather it means consciously creating the presence to experience it at any time. Putting away the rose colored glasses can be done at any time.

It isn’t that there is anything wrong with pleasure as long as it is seen for what it is. Are vacations bad? No, but if you’re living in dreamland without the ability for any degree of conscious presence, then there can be no objective experience for those seeking truth. It is a matter of priority IMO, not to be ruled by fear and imagination, as opposed to denial.

What is truth?
What does it truly mean for a child to be born blind to the ways of man kind, then truth shine down and open up the mind? Truth is the rain that comes from a distant and unseen cloud, that slowly rusts away the chains and shackles binding the mortal soul, and yet this rain fall feels cold and uncomfortable.


How does this address the question as to what motivates you more: the desire for pleasure or the need to become open to the impartial impressions of life in pursuit of truth leading to understanding and wisdom at the expense of the security of your preconceptions?