I see nature as being in conflict with consciousness via artificiality. If you grant there’s such a thing as a mental prison that constructed by the illusion of the private, egoistic self, I think you’ve got to grant a conflict between reality and everything that follows from that illusion, such as the social games of power, domination, and the capitalistic destruction of the biosphere.

When the mystic says everything is one or that in reality there are no distinctions, that’s an empty use of words, isn’t it? What matters to the mystic is the experience of oneness, not the description of a transcendent vision, since that vision is ineffable.

As far as we can tell with reason and language, there are important distinctions to make such as that between nature as it is at the physical level, and the conscious, intelligent creatures that happen to evolve within that universe and that learn they don’t really belong in the wilderness, which causes those creatures to attempt to build an artificial refuge. I think that kind of dualism helps us understand history and where we fit in the world. Even the Buddha drew a distinction between peace and suffering.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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