The work we are doing is more or less the work we meant to do in life [but] it does not yield us the feeling of accomplishment we had expected... If I were required to put into a single sentence my own explanation of the state of our hearts, heads, and nerves, I would do it this way: we are vaguely wretched because we are leading half-lives, half-heartedly, and with only one-half of our minds actively, engaged in making contact with the universe about us.
The contemplative life has nothing to tell you except to reassure you and say that if you dare to penetrate your own silence and dare to advance without fear into the solitude of your own heart... you will truly recover the light and capacity to understand what is beyond words and beyond explanation because it is too close to be explained.
If the universe be in man (as a scale of reality) as well as man in the universe, then if a man gives an inferior explanation of the universe it will react on himself; he will limit himself and remain inferior to his own potential being.
The idea of soul, as a pure ego or mental substance, persists tenaciously in philosophy. I have argued that it cannot satisfactorily discharge the various tasks for which it has been recruited. The body, with marginal, speculative and dependent exceptions, is all that is required to individuate experiences and to supply then with an owner. An unobservable mental substance cannot individuate and provides a merely formal, because wholly inscrutable, solution to the problem of ownership. It is equally, and even more obviously, inept as an explanation of the identity of a person through time, which rests, not on the body, but on the complex of a person’s character and memories, related by continuity.
Be sure to find a place for intellectual and cultural interests outside your daily occupation. It is necessary that you do so if this business of living is not to turn to dust and ashes in your mouth. Moreover, do not overlook the claims of religion as the explanation of an otherwise unintelligible world. It is not the fast tempo of modern life that kills but the boredom, a lack of strong interest and failure to grow that destroy. It is the feeling that nothing is worth while that makes men ill and unhappy.
It may be difficult, too, for many of us, to abandon the belief that there is an instinct towards perfection at work in human beings, which has brought them to their present high level of intellectual achievement and ethical sublimation and which may be expected to watch over their development as supermen. I have no faith, however, in the existence of any such internal instinct and I cannot see how this benevolent illusion is to be preserved. The present development of human beings requires, as it seems to me, no different explanation from that of animals. What appears in a minority of human individuals as an untiring impulsion towards further perfection can easily be understood as a result of the instinctual repression upon which is based all that is most precious in human civilization.
As children we all possess a natural, uninhibited curiosity, a hunger for explanation, which seems to die slowly as we age - suppressed, I suppose, by the high value we place on conformity and by the need not to appear ignorant. It betokens a conviction that somehow science is innately incomprehensible. It precludes reaching deeper, thereby denying the profound truth that understanding enriches experience, that explanation vastly enhances beauty of the natural world in the eye of the beholder.
Japanese poetry has as its subject the human heart. It may seem to be of no practical use and just as well left uncomposed, but when one knows poetry well, one understands also without explanation the reasons governing order and disorder in the world.
What is the standpoint of materialism?... We look outwards (via the senses) for the explanation and cause of everything. We start from phenomena as absolute truth... Materialism gives sense and physical matter priority over mind or idea... The customary standpoint of scientific materialism is that primary matter is dead - and the universe is dead and nature is dead - and a dead nature can, of course, aim at nothing. It cannot be teleological.
Many things are not believed because their current explanation is not believed.
In Reality, nothing requires explanation. Nothing is caused by anything else. Existence requires no explanation nor does it have any dependence on any other state or quality. This understanding is clarified by the realization that nothing in and of itself has any `meaning’. Therefore, neither does it have `purpose’. Everything is already complete and merely self-existent as its own self-identity.
Religion is an explanation (Creed) of the ultimate meaning of life, and how to live (Code and Community–structure) accordingly, which is based on the notion of the Transcendent (Cult). Because Religion is an explanation of the ultimate meaning of life it provides a code of behavior in the fullest possible sense, including all the psychological, social and cultural dimensions of human life, and is hence a “Way of Life” – for humans.
Evolution is not necessarily a reductive theory: it does not explain away or reduce meaningfulness and value, any more than it explains away or reduces mathematics, economics, or even sociobiology itself. It aims to provide a naturalistic explanation of biological characteristics, including the capacities that enable us to recognize value and meaning. Giving a causal explanation of the origin of capacities is not the same as giving an account of the relevant meaning or content.
Human reason exhausts itself ceaselessly to explain the inexplicable. Explanation itself is high comedy, as preposterous as trying to see the back of one's own head, but the vanity of the ego is boundless, and it becomes even more overblown by this very attempt to make sense of nonsense. The mind, in its identity with the ego, cannot by definition, comprehend reality; if it could, it would instantly dissolve itself upon recognizing its own illusory nature. It's only beyond the paradox of mind transcending ego that what IS stands forth, self-evident and dazzling in its infinite Absoluteness. And then all of these words are useless.