The significance of experiencing contrast in our lives gives us a perspective that will remain auspicious in our memories. The world is continually providing us with contrast as we are not omniscient beings, hence we cannot predict future events that we will eventually weather. For the average person much of this is “lost in translation” and If we are observant than we may find that these experiences will awaken us to a multitude of foresight in the maturation of our humanity. Many of us struggle and find that we neglect to learn from some of these enigmatic lessons that are poised within the span of our lives. We often can become inspired and transformed by events via our emotions that we entwine into our experience. Much of this effort should come from within ourselves. How we translate these lessons into our lives can be an amazing occurrence, or it can be just another non-eventful happening and at worst will taint us and leave us jaded. What we do to make our positive experience flourish within our lives is truly up to us.
How we connect with our world and allow it to transform us is unique to each one of us. We are bound fundamentally by the same mechanisms, yet we all also are so diversely directed by its influence. This is a huge revelation, because this shows that we do have control how this affects us, we are in charge of how we become motivated or discouraged by events that touch us. When I suggest how events touch us, I truly mean touch us, as they influence more than just our intellect. There is a deeper penetration of our nature that awakens a very primitive human connection to how we relate with the world.
It is more than intellectual, and includes part of our emotive factions, and what the ancients called our “spirited” factions of our being. We often believe that we merely receive the world as it produces the content of our experience. I think however that we create much of what we experience by how we conform to the content and context of our experience that the world provides. Keep in mind that I am mixing much of the established rationalistic claims and the empiricist claims of philosophy into my claim of epistemological knowledge. Again the significance in our ability to discern contrast in our experience is crucial on how we interpret and integrate the events that form our lives.
The Buddha twice uses the simile of blind men led astray. In the Canki Sutta he describes a row of blind men holding on to each other as an example of those who follow an old text that has passed down from generation to generation. In the Udana (68–69) he uses the elephant parable to describe sectarian quarrels. A king has the blind men of the capital brought to the palace, where an elephant is brought in and they are asked to describe it.
When the blind men had each felt a part of the elephant, the king went to each of them and said to each: ‘Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?’
The men assert the elephant is either like a pot (the blind man who felt the elephant’s head), a winnowing basket (ear), a plowshare (tusk), a plow (trunk), a granary (body), a pillar (foot), a mortar (back), a pestle (tail) or a brush (tip of the tail).
The men cannot agree with one another and come to blows over the question of what it is like and their dispute delights the king. The Buddha ends the story by comparing the blind men to preachers and scholars who are blind and ignorant and hold to their own views: “Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing…. In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus.” The Buddha then speaks the following verse:
O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing.
This is the basis of our diversity and our abilities to synthesize the elemental experiences into our cognition’s. We are bound to how we internalize these events in a myriad of ways. Each one of us shapes much of our experience to very personal preferences that have an effect on the outcome of its meaning and its significance to us. We ultimately decide how we embrace it or if we reject it.