Grasping for Comparison

In case you haven’t noticed this blog has set up the notion of superposition. It stems from trying to shoe-horn. When we have two notions, wave or particle, we speak of duality. If we have two wave functions we speak of an ersatz, a superposition. A bit of what you fancy does you good. If neither works let’s cobble together a fence-sitting explanation rather than letting go of the thought forms all together, when they fail, we blend. And so, we talk of decoherence which might mean that our ersatz starts to fail, or it only lasts so long. These thought forms are strong, and many minds have considered them, so we are not keen on letting them go and going back to the drawing board.

We seek to compare with all the thought forms that have gone before, that have chugged around in the minds. Without some kind of reference point, we are lost. The model works but with each inclusion of a higher order term, with each correction factor, we are clinging onto our frame of reference.

This comparison, this binary, this polarity, this duality, it fascinates. It entices mind into right and wrong categories. And if that doesn’t work we make a superposition.

What we fail to question is our approach, the approach of ages. We see a line and not a circle.  Humanity is beset by the point separating into the line; the us and the them.

Why must we grasp for this comparison, this linear scaling?

Until we can let go of this live, real-time urge for comparison, we will not have depth of experience. Why? Because when we are comparing our engagement with experience is limiting. We are not present, we are in comparison mind.

I don’t know how to phrase this better, other than to say; “please drop all that comparison shit! Experience first, compare later. “

Maybe just because somethings have been thought, so many times, by so many people, we cannot but refer back, reference and otherwise compare with what has gone before. After all these “thinkers” have acquired some status, now they are dead.

This grasping for comparison, for some order social or otherwise keeps us busy. It keeps us from venturing into the unknown, which almost by definition means that comparison is fruitless.

But we like to know the status quo, to be sure of it and thereby sleep well.

Having cued this up:

Has my status-trip ever caused me loss?

Has my grasping for comparisons served me well?

If I leave compare world, what might I find?

If I stay in compare world, will I have enough comparisons to keep my mind busy and my being happy?

Philosophy or Application?

Comparison mind is that aspect of mind which separates. It seeks criteria as grounds and justifications for that separation. It is rarely holistic and is so often used to rank things. It reinforces the dramatic I, that sense of individuating identity or ego sum. It brings to birth better than and worse than; it does aside with any notion of equality, of oneness. We are all God’s children and His eyes equal, is explained away. I am more elevated than you. Unless you have a colostomy bag, you like me will shit on some kind of a toilet today or tomorrow. Maybe your toilet is better than mine and you have that luxury quilted toilet paper, whereas mine might be common or garden.

This philosophy of oneness, in its limit, does away with all notion of status. We are all shitters and at one time or another, we have all been wankers. If there is oneness or unity how can there be any ladder of progression, of being better than? We are all on a journey. Ah but who will hit the finish line first? See, comparison mind kicks in. That holy grail of status is entirely man-made. We have these keys on the keyboard < and >. Whilst they may be useful in maths and equations, do we have to use them to turn our noses up at each other?  Snobbery is the miracle grow fertiliser at the back of rank.

Comparison mind is the very foundation stone of prejudice. It says not like me = bad. It says oik or pleb therefore, beneath me. It says different colour skin, alternate sexual orientation = not good. It says weirdo into new age shit = loony. And we can feel so very justified by our choice of comparison criteria. We may kid ourselves we are being reasonable and fair. We might think we have earned this status which gives us the right to be prejudiced.

What I am talking about is of course conditioned things, these arise out of the selective and conditional use of comparison criteria. The “ranking” is conditional, it is also impermanent. Even human rankings are time varying.

If you apply the philosophy “all conditioned things are impermanent, when one sees this with wisdom one turns away from suffering”, the ramifications are widespread. There can be no status, for that is a conditioned thing. It is easy for me to say this but very hard for most people to let go of this status-trip.

Applying a philosophy and having it as an intellectual idea, are not one and the same thing. See, I have just made a kind of comparison.

Many like nice ideas. When the ramifications bite, they can easily be waylaid. This leads to a kind of hypocrisy, say one thing and do another. Genuine aspiration on the other hand is a work in progress. If we think we have arrived, we are probably wrong. How would we know? What might we use to compare against and test validity?

Have you noticed the circularity that I have introduced?

This is to point at what the Toltecs call “The Riddle of the Mind”. Some things have no comparison and that is hard to accept.

Comparison Mind

Given that people like to compare things I was sorely tempted to put up an image of people comparing the size of their cocks, but I resisted. There is nothing like providing a list of criteria to stimulate this comparison mind in people so enamoured. The rank-sorting fascination kicks in and the mental spreadsheet is booted up. We humans are obsessed with comparison.

It can be “the grass is greener” or your Audi TT is faster than my Peugeot GTi. This sense of rank and status and ordering, underpins social conditioning. We live in Top Trumps world. For whatever reason we want to know where we stand on this criteria ladder. We can spend (waste) vast amounts of time comparing things and ourselves. Even the Buddhists were at it!

Once we start to classify, categorize and compare, we reduce dimensionality. And if we have a reductionist science view, we seek to only vary one parameter at a time.

Having cued this up:

How much time do I waste making comparisons?

Why am I so enamoured?

In the final analysis what purpose does it serve?

Finding “Katana” Questions

There is a tendency to over-think and over-complicate these days. I not sure where it comes from nor how it has gotten so deeply embedded. We have these “lovely” things called criteria which many are enamoured of, we have to justify things both to ourselves and others in terms of these criteria. And people send us endless electronic questionnaires. There are literally millions of customer reviews, which are of course marketing dressed up as inclusion. We can get very badly lost in comparison-mind. We want to compare this and compare that, hoping it might aid a decision. This puts-off the impending decision and we play the comparison game, deep into the night. We prevaricate and procrastinate. Under the weight of all this stuff, our intuition lies forgotten, squashed and abandoned. In our internal-dialogue comparison-mind “thinking” we do not find the “katana” question or the bullshit knife, which might help us cut through.

And should we find this katana question we are often fearful of wielding it and so we enter the comparison mind-loop all over. Somehow cutting through to the core of problem is impolite, we need to vacillate a bit longer. For example, if you are looking to buy a house you could spend a couple of hours going through the criteria. Or you could simply ask the question; “Am I keen to get my cheque book out, now, and buy the property?” If the answer  is no, don’t go further. If it is yes, you can then use comparison-mind to check you are not being romantic and silly. We do things the wong way around. Our intuition, if honed, can become as sharp as a katana. We can sense when things are wrong or when they are right, way before ten hours of comparison-mind kicks in.

Having cued this up:

Do I have intuitions?

Have they proven to be accurate?

Have I talked my intuition into a corner and made a poor decision thereby?

Am I enamoured of making comparisons; a lot, a little bit, only now and then, or not at all?

What would happen if I honed and used my intuition a little bit more?

Might I save myself time, effort and migraines?

 

 

Our Claustrophobic Times

Take a look at the above image. What does it say to you? How do you feel about it? Now contrast it to the poem previous.

We live in very agoraphobic times, we fear open-ness and lack of guarantee. Before we try something, we must know, in spades, what the outcome will be. This means that we are shut up tight in a closet. That closet is constructed out of the ply-wood of comparison mind. All that stuff presses in on us and we don’t even notice, in fact we welcome it because it makes “sense”.

We are closeted and closed in.

Being Better Than

To whom are you superior?

Human beings like to feel superior, better than, others. It seems important to be better than another being in some way or other. It speaks of rivalry and competition. I want to be better than Fred, to be cleverer, more attractive, have more money, a higher social status, more kudos or more followers on Instagram. This desire to outdo others according to some mental metric is common. People want to be the best, the A number one and if they can’t be that, then at least they want to be better than Fred. Some are driven to strive to be better than or at least to appear better than. It is of course comparison mind at work.

I don’t recognise this thinking as being strong in me, it never has been. All I have been concerned with is doing my best, it doesn’t matter overmuch how that ranks me.

When one is better than there is a temptation to feel superior to and to swell a little with this superiority. I’ll guess that many would feel superior to me because of their nice house, it is better than mine. And if one is superior to, one can look down one’s nose at. It can engender a hoity-toity attitude. Feeling better than does not suffice, there has to be proof, something tangible with which to measure this thing. It could be a whole bunch of stuff. Maybe we take a ruler to our cock, to prove we are bigger than or better than, maybe we compare our bank balances, or polish the new Mercedes in the drive.

It is odd this comparison of human ranking thing.

Having cued this up:

To whom am I superior?

Do I strive to compete against and outdo other beings?

How many beings am I better than?

Is there a tendency to look down my nose at others?

Or am I better than that?     

Jealousy and Envy

Jealousy is an emotion; the term generally refers to the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and envy over relative lack of possessions, status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a comparator.

Jealousy often consists of one or more of emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness or disgust. In its original meaning, jealousy is distinct from envy, though the two terms have popularly become synonymous in the English language, with jealousy now also taking on the definition originally used for envy alone.

Jealousy is a typical experience in human relationships, and it has been observed in infants as young as five months. Some claim that jealousy is seen in every culture; however, others claim jealousy is a culture-specific phenomenon.

Jealousy can either be suspicious or reactive, and it is often reinforced as a series of particularly strong emotions and constructed as a universal human experience. Psychologists have proposed several models to study the processes underlying jealousy and have identified factors that result in jealousy. Sociologists have demonstrated that cultural beliefs and values play an important role in determining what triggers jealousy and what constitutes socially acceptable expressions of jealousy. Biologists have identified factors that may unconsciously influence the expression of jealousy.

Throughout history, artists have also explored the theme of jealousy in photographs, paintings, films, songs, plays, poems, and books, and theologians have offered religious views of jealousy based on the scriptures of their respective faiths.”

Envy (from Latin invidia) is an emotion which “occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it”.

Bertrand Russell said that envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. Not only is the envious person rendered unhappy by his or her envy, Russell explained, but that person also wishes to inflict misfortune on others. Although envy is generally seen as something negative, Russell also believed that envy was a driving force behind the movement towards democracy and must be endured to achieve a more just social system. However, psychologists have recently suggested that there may be two types of envy: malicious envy and benign envy—malicious envy being proposed as a sick force that ruins a person and his/her mind and causes the envious person to blindly want the “hero” to suffer; on the other hand, benign envy being proposed as a type of positive motivational force that causes the person to aspire to be as good as the “hero”—but only if benign envy is used in a right way. Envy and gloating have parallel structures as emotions.”

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These two are not uncommon is the world we live in. They can be a motivator for achievement and they can have a much more negative effect. The extent to which each of us is “blessed” by them varies. Some have them in spades so to speak. Some comparison lies aback them both as does insecurity.

Insofar as I can tell I am not personally troubled to a great extent by these things manifesting in me. Back when I was much younger, I was envious of those who did not have loads of zits and who had not had an itinerant childhood. I have never really felt the urge to bring another being down because of envy. I have experienced some measure of jealousy whilst in relationships, the cause of which was a lack of trust induced by the behaviours of the other person. But by and large I am fairly free of these two green-eyed monsters.

Well it is easy for you! Up until I finished my first degree I was always pretty good doing well, somewhere around the 75th percentile in achievement. I played rugby but never excelled. I was perhaps of above average physical attractiveness and ability but had a few hindrances in relationships because of my {then hidden} introversion. But along came my Ph.D. and six papers during its course. Now I was precocious. I started to stand out a little more. It was around then that I first started to notice people behaving oddly towards me. I could not put a finger to it, but with retrospect it looks like the green-eyed monsters.

Why is it that we have tall poppy syndrome both on the micro scale and others? Why do we so begrudge? Does it really all come down to comparison?

In social-climbing terms I do not have some big house, posh car or fancy clothes. I am unemployed. The Joneses have surpassed me, well and truly. But I do not have a whopper of a mortgage, so I need not strive quite as much. Maybe in our twisted world people might begrudge the freedom it brings. My health is not so good, but I do not begrudge others theirs.

These two things jealousy and envy bring dissatisfaction. They are coupled to begrudging and resentment. It may come back to that ever elusive “enough”. What is enough? When is enough?

Strange…

Having cued this up:

Do I manifest jealousy and envy in my being?

Do I begrudge?

Am I threatened by the achievements of others?

If I stopped making comparisons and got on with my own life would I be happier and more at peace?

What and when is enough?

Will I ever find this noumenon?