The sin, the virtue and the desire!

“I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul.”

Jean Paul Sartre.

That is one of my favourite quotes of Sartre’s. I am sure everybody has most probably heard about Sartre, but for those who are not familiar with his name, he is Jean Paul Sartre, a French philosopher, novelist and journalist, and more importantly the father of modern existential philosophy. Anyway, this post is not about Sartre, and I am not the right person to write about this great man, as I am still exploring his writings, but I felt obliged to start this post with that quote of his, that quote which originated from his genius mind is definitely the best beginning ever for this sort of discussion.

The sin, the virtue, and the desire. That scary triangle ( actually more scary than the mythical Bermuda triangle! ) has always kept the philosophers’ minds busy thinking about it, trying to solve that hard equation. This triangle has always been at the heart of all religions’ teachings, like it represents that eternal battle between the soul and the flesh!
And that scary triangle has been a very important part of my own inner conflict, and many of my personal choices during my lifetime depended on, at which head of the triangle I was standing at the time I made that choice!

To start this discussion, you must know something about me, and we have to make a deal together! The thing you must know, is that I am not writing this to support or to insult any religion or faith, that is not the purpose of this post at all. I am just speaking up my mind and sharing my thoughts with you, and that takes us to the deal, which is not to be angry with me if my thoughts dont coincide with your own beliefs. I dont claim I have the answer or the absolute truth, and all I want is to discuss and share my own ideas and views, as I believe that the most precious virtue,is freedom of the mind! Now after we made our deal, we can move on 🙂

The priest ( I will use the word priest to refer to any religious leader of any religion) tells you, don’t sin, and according to your religion he may ask you to accept god in your heart, or abide by God’s rules, or any other similar things, the language used may slightly differ, but after all, all these words are the same! They ask you to be virtuous, and when you ask how, they tell you to follow God, they tell you, pray and you will be fine! How cunning they are!
They are not cunning because they ask you to accept God, they are cunning because they don’t answer the question while they pretend they do, leaving you in a conflict and a hard choice between being virtuous as your desires eat you alive, or feeling you are a sinner as guilt burns you! So cunning and harmful they are!
The problem with these teachings is that they ignore the earthy facts, they ignore the body thinking they are taking you to the eternal spiritual realm, and while I do personally believe in the spirit, I dont think that sort of teachings would lead to any spiritual growth, as how can there be a fruit without a tree, and how could a tree bear fruits without being deeply rooted..These teachings want to pass beneath the body, while you have to go beyond the body and not beneath it to acquire any degree of spiritual growth.
The other problem with these teachings is that they are heavily contradictory and unlogic. They do send a lot of contradictory messages leaving a mess behind them! For example, when you eat, they tell you, ok but don’t be greedy, and when a poor man complains about being hungry, they tell him, don’t complain and thank God, be ascetic! When you are living your life and not thinking much about religious issues, they ask you to think about God and eternal life, and when you start really thinking and asking questions, real existential questions, they get scared and urge you not to think that way, they tell you that the mind could be devilish and misguide you, do you know why?? because your questions are so threatening to them! Priests have no answers, they only have rules, and advice! and personally I hated nothing in my life as I hate advice! I believe in this, dont advise me, surprise me! show me! and if you have no surprises, just share with me! and if you have nothing to share, for God’s sake, be silent!

I understand that this post is about sin and desire, not about priests and religions, but I am talking about priests, because the 2 subjects are closely related, at least in our minds! Besides, I assume by now you must have known this about me, I have that problem, that flow of thoughts which attacks me whenever I start talking about something, leading to this form of scattered ideas like a puzzle here for you to collect, so forgive me for that, but I cant help it 🙂

I didn’t trust priests since my early days. I realized how cunning and more importantly superficial they were, so I ignored them and their teachings, and got myself involved in a sort of mythical faith, Sufism to be accurate. I dont know if you are familiar with the word Sufism, and it is definitely something worth writing many posts about, but this is not the time for this. So, I discarded the priests but the problem with sin was not over! and I started to understand that it was not simply about the priests’ teachings, so I began to look closer at the concept of sin itself! Is it real? Is there something like a sin for real, or is it just the creation of sick minds to chain us, to keep humans under control?! Like that old saying, ” if you want to teach him to be afraid, take him to a priest! “..Many questions were there, and I was confused, I had desires burning inside me like an everlasting flame! Keeping in mind that I grew up in a conservative, and almost religious family, you can imagine the degree of guilt I experienced just at the mere thought of living my desires! I was angry, very angry at religious men, I got involved into imaginary angry dialogues with them, like there was an imaginary religious man yelling at me, dont sin! and I shout back, shut up you fool, I didnt choose to have these desires, and he yells at me again, dont disobey God, making me more mad as I yell back at him saying, then go ask your God, why did he put these desires in me, if they were so bad! The imaginary dialogue continues with the religious man asking me to resist my urges, and I answer him, why do I have to fight myself, I have enough bastards out there to fight, I dont have to bear the burden of fighting with myself as well! During that imaginary dialogue with that virtual priest ( who is nothing but what psychologists call the superego or the conscience as ordinary people call it) I started to notice something that was very evident, but seemed like a great discovery for me at that time. They want me to fight with myself, this way of thinking and life leads to nothing but to you eating yourself alive! It imprisons you behind the bars of guilt, and believe me, guilt is the worst prison ever, worse than the famous Bastille fortress! All they have to do is to implant that idea in your mind, sin, and it imprisons you forever, like a self-sustaining circuit of sin, guilt and atonement! I continued thinking further and talking more with my virtual priest asking him, is it a sin when I make love to my girl, and he answered with confidence, oh yes, of course it is! But if we took permission from the real priest ( the code word for it is marriage!) then it is fine, isnt it, tell me what difference does it make?! I asked him, what if I kill a man? He panicked and said, Oh noo, that is the greatest sin! I smiled at him and said, yes it is, but if I do it in a war, you will call me a hero, not a sinner! why so? because the government ordered me to kill men? He stayed silent and I laughed at him, what a son of a bitch you are! you are more cunning than the external priest! He was terrified and I was euphoric, now you scare me not! now I am the one scaring you, I said. I continued, you know what, you are the one I am going to kill! My conscience looked afraid for a while, then he stopped, and smiled an evil smile at me! A devilish smile indeed! You can’t kill me, he said, I keep you sane! Kill me if you dare and you will get lost in the mazes of insanity! You are too weak to face reality you kid, he said. You need me, to come and cry , get your punishment and get out clean! I torture you with guilt, but I put some make up to cover your ugliness and make you feel better about yourself, you see, I am your friend, and not your enemy, he said smiling a more devilish smile! I felt afraid, and I asked, is it you? is it you the devil? and he laughed out loudly asking me, oh boy, are you afraid now? listen to yourself, you are talking like a priest now! I asked him, who are you? He smiled and said, I have many names, they call me your conscience, pedantic psychologists call me your superego! I asked again, who are you? He looked at me a scary look and said, I am the shepherd! you are the sheep, and I am the shepherd! I am the system that keeps you sane, and keeps the society safe! I imprison you in the cell of guilt for your own benefit, and that external priest is just my reflection, you and your fellow humans invented that priest, you love me so much so you wanted me both inside and outside, he said while laughing at me! I stared at him for a while, then I smiled and said, behind you is my spirit, what if I kill you right now?! He looked a bit afraid, but said after a while, you can’t, you are not ready! I answered him, so cunning you are, but you said the truth this time, I can’t kill you, not yet! I gave him my back walking away, then I turned and looked at him again and said, but believe me, that won’t last forever, I will be killing you very soon! You pretend to be virtuous, while the truth is that you imprison me not only in the cell of guilt, but in the cell of my desires! you are the barrier preventing me from reaching real virtue! Purity of the heart! and the day I kill you will be the day I become virtuous! Bother me so much, and I will kill you right away, bother me not and you may stay a bit longer, but believe me, you will be dead soon, I said, then I left!

The imaginary dialogue is over, and I am asking myself how could you tolerate my madness, if I am tired of it myself! 🙂

A very wise man once said, ” they tell you sex is a sin, I tell you, sex is the seed of prayer! ” Sex is not prayer, but it is the seed..So, how can you have a tree, without implanting its seed in the soil?!
Religions and modern civilisation are very different apparently, but they do share a common concept, even if it is expressed in different ways, they insist on dealing with humans as wild beasts that need to be chained. They never cease asking you to fight your animal nature, your instincts, pretending to honour you as a human by doing so, while they actually insult you by showing despise to an integral part of your existence, and forgetting that your instincts are there for a reason! They make you suffer, by fighting your nature. They tell you, you are a human, and a human is not a beast, while the fact is that a human is ” a beast plus..”! And only when an individual embraces his/her earthy animal nature, he can see that he is much more than a beast, he can see there is much more beyond. Personally, I stick to the journey principle, that everything can be understood in the context of a journey. It is like you have to see beyond your earthy nature, and the only way to do it is to embrace this earthy nature itself! Now it sounds like I differ in the technique, while I share the same target with the priests, but that is not true. Actually, that journey idea, is what you may call “intellectualisation” , like I have a glimpse of something beyond, and my mind uses the intellect to draw a whole picture, but life is not in intellect, life is in experience, a live experience! I believe in enjoying the journey as much as possible, and I believe in being myself, so that if I do feel like a beast, I just go for it, and live like one, then I see what happens! You find something beyond the beast, that is exciting! If not, then you are just harmonious with yourself, you are not in a fight with yourself.
In other words, you are real. Real life may be dangerous, it may lead to loss, but there is nothing that beats the risk of sailing a dark windy ocean, than its beauty! Unfortunately they go side by side, beauty and risk, and the choice is everybody’s to make.
The only sin that counts for me, is harming another, just dont harm another, and dont intentionally harm yourself. I believe this is the only logic and virtuous rule for the journey.

The same wise man told a very symbolic story, that I would end this discussion with. A young man who was obsessed with life, death, and wisdom heard of a very wise man living in a cottage over a mountain in distant lands, so he decided to travel to him, to learn from him, and after a long tiring journey he reached the cottage. He entered and told the wise man, I have heard about you, and I came here for you to teach me wisdom. The old wise man looked at him and said, ok, but sit down until P prepare some tea for you first. The wise man brought the tea pot and the cups and sat down beside the young man, and started pouring tea in the young man’s cup, he kept pouring and the cup was completely filled, but he kept pouring and the hot tea started to fall down from the cup creating a mess. The young man yelled at him and said, hey, are you mad?! The cup is full already and you are still pouring! The wise man put down the pot and smiled at him saying, yes, the cup is already full, how can I fill it with something else, there is no room for anything else. Like that cup you are full of many desires and things, how can I pour wisdom inside you?! Go empty the cup first, then come back!

I don’t know what do you think about that story, but I do like it very much, and hmmm, personally, I am working on emptying my own cup! 🙂
I do hate giving advice as I said earlier, but if you want one, I will say, enjoy emptying your own cup, and if it never becomes empty, who cares! Just enjoy your life 🙂

Her Wild Stallion

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