Enlightenment?

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A close friend often talks about his eyes being opened: to a better understanding of how the world really is; to a better way of living; to more open and understanding ways of thinking, feeling, being. And he frequently tells me i'm already there.

I've gotten this in different ways from other people— and i don't like it. I don't want points for being open. I don't want karma credits for being enlightened. The idea of people being ranked by their state of enlightenment is abhorrent on moral and practical grounds. I don't want the goal, for any of us, to be a state of mind, honestly— because while similar or compatible ways of seeing the world may help us share many things, a state of mind is not something we can truly share in itself.

***

Coda:

I guess i'm blinkered by the constructs of my own religion, but i like them. In Judaism, there is definitely a goal of greater understanding, but you are only ever really due to be congratulated for what you do. It's not that tons of rules are attractive, it's the focus on actions. Even for Torah study the mitzvot are all the steps; the affirmation is in the steps, not the unknowable destination (no one expects to reach G-d-like knowledge). I think the focus on the observable lends itself naturally to a focus on tangible achievements or rather making use of knowledge, rather than simply having the understanding or knowledge. Even the professional studiers of Torah say it is better to put down your books and help someone you see in need of help outside your window. It's not hard to derive a philosophy of doing good things, doing "all the right things," from this.

Therefore, learning is a necessary part of being a good person, the actual state of your head or the mere possession of knowledge has no bearing on anything. The goodness is in the effort and in what one does with one's understanding and knowledge.