Sunday, March 4, 2012


I have written much---perhaps too much---on the unreality on the ‘self,’ but I couldn’t resist sharing this saying, attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha, which I read only recently:

Ye are slaves of the I, that toil in the service of self from morn to night, that live in constant fear of birth, old age, sickness, death, receive the good tidings that your cruel master exists not.

‘Slaves of the I, that toil in the service of self.’ When I think of the legal profession---of which I have been an erstwhile member for almost 35 years---I see so many practitioners who ‘toil in the service of self’ while self-righteously affirming they are doing it for the sake and benefit of their clients. They write aggressive letters to the lawyers for the other party which basically say no more than, ‘My dick's bigger than yours.’

These lawyers suffer so greatly from being in slavery to themselves and their own sense of self-importance. No wonder lawyers are statistically more unhappy than any other people. So many lawyers I have encountered in my working life as a lawyer and legal academic are oblivious to the fact that their clients are generally aware of the childish 'dick' game of one-upmanship constantly being played out before their very eyes---and at such great expense to the clients themselves and the general public, I might add. It’s total ego stuff, through and through, and the same thing can be said for most other businesses, trades and professions---not to mention what goes on in the home and in all day-to-day personal relationships. We are all very good at being disingenuous.

It has been said that when we leave this world we can take with us only what is ours ‘by right of consciousness.’ I am not at all sure that we can take even that ‘with’ us when we go---but I do know that what is ours by right of consciousness will remain for quite a long time as a memory and in the memories of those who remain and who remember, for better or for worse, what we were really like in our lifetime.

Most people have given up conventional religion, and I can readily understand why that is the case. All too sadly, however, the new religion of most people---at least in Western societies---is consumerism, and there is a helluva lot of ‘dick stuff’ associated with that religion! It’s all dick stuff 'from morn to night' with ‘constant fear’ that the so-called good times will come to an abrupt end at any moment, what with the credit cards all maxed out and so forth. And I am not being self-righteous here, for I stand 'guilty as charged' as well.

I read somewhere once that Leonardo da Vinci scribbled in the corner of one of his drawings that he had agonized over for some considerable time, ‘Leonardo, Why toilest thou thus?’ He saw the ultimate futility of all our endeavours. I know. I get the same feeling as I churn out these blogs each week---and I am certainly no Leonardo da Vinci! Far from it.

We all need to slow down and ponder this truth---the ‘cruel master’ for whom we toil in vain does not exist.

‘Why toilest thou thus?’


1 comment:

  1. Dear Ian - This is the most interesting and inspiring blogging I've stumbled across so far. Very much looking forward to catching up with your previous posts, etc. I hope you're getting lots of positive feedback from other readers. Please continue to toil and to churn out your posts.
    Best wishes
    Gary Foskett
    3D Eye - 3diassociates


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