General01 Dec 2007 05:11 pm

In the previous post or two I’ve talked of the weakness of looking at life in a black and white fashion in which things are viewed as good or bad. Biological and mental life are very complex and when we look at things we see that global judgments often end up being very inaccurate and misleading.

Not that long ago we discovered the pernicious role germs and bacteria can play in human life. Soon many people adapted the idea that germs and bacteria were bad and we should everything in our power to kill all germs. Yet, the fact of the matter is that while our lives are threatened by some bacteria they are enhanced and even dependent on the existence of others. Without bacteria we couldn’t digest food, heal or fight off disease. Our immune system is strengthened by contact with germs which stress and challenge our bodies.

The same black and white mentality can be very harmful in the success of human activities such as farming. Farmer’s who realized that their crops were being destroyed by pests and insects often decided to declare war on all insects. In their perfect world all  insects would be exterminated so that their plants could grow without being destroyed or hampered by pests. Yet, many of these insects and soil microorganisms are essential for successful farming. Soil without earthworms is unable to produce most crops and many of our fruits and vegetation is dependent on bees for their survival. The list of essential insects, pests and microorganisms probably dwarfs the list of harmful ones.

The same faulty logic of seeing just the negative in something basic to human life and survival is found in the idea of limitation. Most people dwell on the negative aspect of limitation in life. The look at limits as being obstacles, hurdles or dead ends. Many philosophers, artists and spiritualists dream of a life unfettered by limits and even go so far as too claim all limits in life are illusions. Many of these people claim that human life is inherently limitless and it is only our negativity and short sightedness which prevents us from living a limit free existence.

To me this is just another example of how we degrade and deny our basic humanity. In the near twenty posts I’ve done regarding male sexuality I’ve talked at length at how we have a tendency not only to deny our sexual nature but also to demonize our human nature.

A life without limits is kind of like an orchard without bees, or a garden without earthworms. Though I agree that some limits are tiresome and a burden, I find the bulk of limitations in life to be productive and essential.

Simply stated human experience is impossible without limitations. Every experience we have is made possible by a host of limitations.

We live because we are mortal. If we were immortal we would have no experience. Being immortal means one is eternal and beyond time. Experience exists because of time, space, consciousness.  Without time we would have no history, no continuity and no memory. Without time their could be no meaning.

Due to the limits of time and space we can see, smell, touch, hear, taste and feel a world around us. Each individual sense is itself dependent on numerous limitations.  We see shape and color due to the limitations of reflected light. If we saw all light we would see no thing (nothing). If we heard all sound we would not hear any particular or individual sound. The same goes for all sensations.

The same goes for thought and feeling. Without limitations we would not have a thought and we could not experience individual and changing emotions.

Without limitations life would have no history, no meaning and their would be no journey. Life is interesting, exciting and challenging because of its limitations. Life is a never ending process of discovery, adaptation and creativity. The person who desires perfection or total knowledge is essentially desiring to destroy life. For a life without limitation is not a life of experience and meaning. Just as a person seeing everything is unable to see no thing (nothing) likewise a person knowing everything could not know a single thing.

This realization and acceptance of human experience has benefited me well. It has allowed me to enjoy each experience without feeling a need to conquer life. Seeing life as finite and limited encourages me to maximize my experiences while keeping my expectations realistic. It also allows me my human nature in a positive light and allows me to embrace both myself and the world around me.

Human limitation from this perspective becomes a vehicle not an obstacle, and human experience becomes something to celebrate and hone and not something to bewail and feel bad about.

A nice aspect of this perspective is that it jives with life, and therefore,  isn’t dependent on some basic irony or paradox as is most spiritual perspectives.

Likewise this perspective helps me accept the prospect of death. When every experience is based on limitation, and meaning is formed from limitation itself than the termination of life adds meaning to life.

While disease caused a lot of our negative bias towards germs and famine fostered our negative view of insects, a feel the fight for survival has engendered our strong dislike of limitation. If you want to read more on this idea please read my book Exploring Intimacy in the words section of this site. One chapter in particular expands on the positive and negative roles of limitation in human existence.

In the next post I will talk more on my thought regarding death and dying and how even in death we have a tendency to deny and belittle life.

Jim Guido

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