This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

False-obviousness and expectation

The hardest thing for spiritual insight is learning to take preconceived ideas as tentative, to stop approaching life as if you knew what to expect, since doing so will result in you only perceiving what you expect, and how can an true insight occur in such a context? Abandon the conceit of thinking that you know what is in the world, and that you have exhausted the significance of things and are now simply tasked with consolidated objects to yourself and commanding them in order to reach certain superficial ends. You must become aware that you are not at all acquainted with the world, but only with its superficial crust, with its obviousness, and that all obviousness is a false-obviousness.

The intellect must, we grant, work with conceptual tools, and one cannot simply recreate these on the fly at every moment. In order to live, one develops a conceptual vocabulary used to interpret reality and interact with it. Nonetheless, one must work to ensure that the concepts do not determine all of the answers to the questions we ask: we must admit that concepts exclude more than they encapsulate, and if we imagine our conceptual framework to be sufficient or exhaustive, then we have reached the end of thought and then end of insight.

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