“A man has to forge himself into a weapon or he will be forged into a tool.” ~Leon, Truth Mind
Wisdom is an effigy. It’s a towering figure in the mind of man. It’s a Goliath to all self-efficient Davids, a leviathan to all outside-the-box thinkers, a towering wall to all adventurers. It both reinforces and locks down comfort zones. And so, as with all effigies, wisdom must burn.
The Goliath must be toppled. The leviathan must be slain. The tower must fall. Otherwise, we’re merely left with the known, and the unknown will forever lie beyond us. Otherwise, we’re left with idealism, golden cows, white towers, and entrenched power.
The highest level of wisdom is the wisdom to overcome wisdom or forever be confined by it.
What we call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible onto something incomprehensible. Likewise, wisdom, which is made up of knowledge, experience, and intuition regarding something incomprehensible, is an attempt to impose comprehensibility.
The art of dismantling wisdom is the ability to allow incomprehensibility to be the thing. It’s the courage to acknowledge both the absurdity of the universe and the absurdity of trying to make sense of it. It’s realizing that the human condition is fallible, imperfect, and prone to mistakes.
You either integrate absurdity or absurdity disintegrates you. You either rise above knowledge or knowledge enslaves you. You either transcend wisdom or wisdom closes your mind. The wisdom in dismantling wisdom is the only way to ensure the progressive evolution of wisdom.
The ashes leftover from burning down the wisdom of the past is a hotbed for the perpetual wisdom of the Phoenix. Burn baby, burn!
Question everything, including your questions:
“Security is a false God. Begin to make sacrifices to it and you are lost.” ~Paul Bowles
The question mark is the undaunted scythe of wisdom. It gives us a cutting edge. Nothing should be off limits. Nothing should be sacrosanct. Where the perpetual wisdom of the Phoenix is concerned the only “God” is a razor-sharp question mark slicing through all things. To include wisdom itself. To include even the throat of the Phoenix. To include even the throat of God.
Answers are God. Comprehensibility is God. Safety, security, and comfort are God. All are false Gods. We continue to make sacrifices to them at the detriment of true wisdom.
God is a psychosocial symbol for our finite perception of an infinite reality. It’s the symbolic personification of our utter inability to grasp the infinite. It’s the archetype of pigeonholing the incomprehensible into the comprehensible. We must reinvent God precisely because we will never understand the true nature of infinity.
The only thing more important than reinventing God is destroying God. We destroy God in order not to get hung up on outdated evolution, antiquated wisdom, and parochial notions of permanence. Indeed, we destroy God in order not to fool ourselves.
But we also rebirth God in order to humble ourselves. So as not to get too far ahead of ourselves. We rebirth God in order to rebirth meaning itself. For there will always be the unknown. There will always be the Infinite which dwarfs our finitude. There will always be something bigger than us to grow into. There will always be a Great Mystery, and we will always be trying to figure it out.
As Bruce Lee said, “All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”
Questioning everything, including our questioning, is the only way not to become fixed in any set pattern. We must keep imagination ahead of reason. We must recondition cultural conditioning. We must revaluate all values. We must question God.
Employ your mind as a mirror:
“The very desire to be certain, to be secure, is the beginning of bondage. It's only when the mind is not caught in the net of certainty, and is not seeking certainty, that it is in a state of discovery.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
Be like a still pond. Receive but do not keep. The fish are but slow-moving emotions inside you. The clouds are but slow-motion perceptions outside you. All are mere illusions passing you by. The self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. The masks reinforce the illusion of a truth. Likewise, the delusions reinforce the illusion of a truth. None of which are true.
The only truth is ungraspable. The only way to grasp this truth is to let go of it. The only way to feel it is to sacrifice yourself to it. The only way to employ it is to always keep the Truth Quest ahead of the “truth.”
You do this through ruthless insouciance and fierce audacity. When it comes to confronting “truth” incorporate the spirit of the boxer. Bob and weave. Dip and jab. Zig and zag. “Dream of a language whose words, like fists, would fracture jaws (Emil Cioran).” Then fearlessly fracture the jaw of “truth.” Give the devil a black eye. Leave God with a broken nose. Leave the ring a champion of the Truth Quest rather than a victim of a so-called “truth.”
Have no hangups. You are a delusional creature caught up in a ruthlessly absurd universe. You either learn how to transcend it or it will smother you. It’s already swallowed you whole, so the only way to become whole is to subsume it. Incorporate it corporeally—mind, body, and soul. Become the absurd. Be the paradox. Let go of the need to hold on. Burn the effigy of the self. Let the Phoenix of nonattachment rise out of the ashes.
Adapt and self-overcome:
“Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I'm going to go fulfil my proper function in the social organism. I'm going to go unbuild walls.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin
Use philosophy as a chisel for the hardened beliefs within you. Use it to humble yourself. Use it to destroy illusion and murder delusion. Use it to dismantle wisdom. Use it to unsettle your settled mind, to shock your chakras, and to reevaluate all your values. Use it to practice self-overcoming as a life-death-rebirth process.
Deconstruct and then reconstruct meaning. Self-interrogate. Self-destruct. Self-actualize. Question your infinite inner masks as well as your infinite outer delusions. Go up and down the “chain of command” and break rank. Plant minefields in your mind field. Blow it all to hell. Then use muscle memory as a reminder of what you learned. Be a catalyzing agent par excellence. Become both a lighthouse in the dark as well as a beacon of darkness in the blinding light. As Joseph Campbell said, “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” So be vital!
A good sense of humor will be your saving grace. Use humor to adapt and overcome. Use it to scale the heights and mock the abyss. Use it to poke glaring holes in the blinding light and plant dauntless seeds in the darkest dark. Use it to count coup on wisdom. Use it to reinforce humility over hubris and curiosity over certainty. Employ the greater wisdom of the will to humor to overpower the lesser wisdom of the will to power lest the latter destroy wisdom itself.
This is true wisdom: the ability to let go of wisdom in order to fully grasp it.
About the Author:
Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.
This article (The Wisdom of Dismantling Wisdom) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and self-inflictedphilosophy.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.