A Limited Understanding; pp. 149-150

Opening Remarks
The mind is a limited power. It has a limited understanding of things because it relies heavily on the sensory inputs. Not knowing the truth it can easily mistake appearance for a fact and some partial aspect as the total truth of things. .

A backward scholar
A backward scholar on logic’s rickety bench
Indoctrinated by the erring sense,
It took appearance for the face of God,
For casual lights the marching of the suns,
For heaven a starry strip of doubtful blue;
Aspects of being feigned to be the whole.

The human mind, even in its present stage of development finds itself difficult to get past appearances. It mistakes the appearances for the reality of things; it mistakes the reporting of the senses as a true witnessing of things. It amasses incorrectly perceived outward facts and tries to piece them together to build a system of logically ascertained truth. But its very data is flawed and its premises erroneous to start with. It is satisfied with partial knowings and believes the limits of its sight as the limits of light.

Trivial thoughts and acts
There was a voice of busy interchange,
A market-place of trivial thoughts and acts:
A life soon spent, a mind the body’s slave
Here seemed the brilliant crown of Nature’s work,
And tiny egos took the world as means
To sate awhile dwarf lusts and brief desires,
In a death-closed passage saw life’s start and end
As though a blind alley were creation’s sign,
As if for this the soul had coveted birth
In the wonderland of a self-creating world
And the opportunities of cosmic Space.

This stage of evolution is concerned chiefly with survival and the satisfaction of various animal appetites, albeit with the collusion of the mind. It is unable to conceive of an expanding universe that stretches far beyond its limited arc of vision. Smallness, triviality of thoughts and actions tied around petty things, little aims and dwarf lusts are its everyday life. Even its imaginations center around the satisfaction of the tiny ego and temporary satisfactions that is soon dissatisfied again. Such is the stuff of which this early mentalised life is made.

The fire growing by its fuel’s death
This creature passionate only to survive,
Fettered to puny thoughts with no wide range
And to the body’s needs and pangs and joys,
This fire growing by its fuel’s death,
Increased by what it seized and made its own:
It gathered and grew and gave itself to none.

Its life was centred around the body, its limited joys and transient satisfactions, It ate and swallowed and devoured as the only means to grow and knew of no other higher motive. To eat and enjoy, to possess and overpower was its motive force. The life force in this early type burnt down the house of clay called the body by the fuel of desire.

Greatness in its den
Only it hoped for greatness in its den
And pleasure and victory in small fields of power
And conquest of life-room for self and kin,
An animal limited by its feeding-space.

The field of action of this little life is limited to its immediate outer environment. Its reference point is the bodily ego and small successes. It is a king in its little empire called the family. Therefore its life turns in small grooves of animal desires to which it is tied as a slave though imagining itself to be the king..

No deeper cause
It knew not the Immortal in its house;
It had no greater deeper cause to live.

Yet for all its survival skills and small intelligence its understanding wwas limited to the surfaces of life. It knew not the soul within nor cared for any deeper purpose of life.

Capture truth for outward use
In limits only it was powerful;
Acute to capture truth for outward use,
Its knowledge was the body’s instrument;
Absorbed in the little works of its prison-house
It turned around the same unchanging points
In the same circle of interest and desire,
But thought itself the master of its jail.

Utilitarianism was its law of life. Even high things such as truth and love and light were valued only from the point of view of its small personal interest. Its life was the life of the body and small desires. It lived for that as a slave toiling day and night. But never did it dream to free itself from ignorance. Trapped in the jail of ignorance it yet thought itself to be a master who knew everything within the jail house that was of immediate concern to his little life. The rest did not matter.

Closing Remarks
This is the brief ephemeral existence of a dwarf humanity portrayed beautifully in this passage above. It is a primitive life that lives only by and for the sake of flesh, not seeking for the soul within.

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