crazypolymath

The Meaning of Desire, The Illusion of Separateness, Thoughts on Wisdom & Work, and More – Kunal (@CrazyPolymath) on The Crazy Wisdom Podcast

Key Takeaways

  • Desires arise from a non-acceptance of the current state of the universe
  • Analyze and process every single one of your desires before chasing them
  • Wisdom = meticulous, objective observation
  • Quotes to ponder from Kunal:
    • “Just like becoming a monk and giving up all your desires cannot be the ultimate experience, as a human being, I think the ultimate human experience would be having a monk-life mentality to see the truth, having a king-like mentality for prosperity, and having a warrior-like mentality for fighting or chasing something.”
    • “Your actions and your thoughts have this ripple effect. If you see the universe as a complex system, it’s a property of complex systems that a change in a single entity propagates through the complex system, depending on how connected the complex system is. And, of course, the universe is a very connected complex system, so every action and thought we have has a ripple effect that goes on until eternity.” 
    • “Everything is one thing. There’s no separateness. The separateness is an illusion created by our senses.”
    • “Creativity comes from flow, it doesn’t come from force.”

Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Kunal (@CrazyPolymath), a self-described “seeker,” is an anonymous Twitter intellectual (who you should all be following)
    • For more Kunal, check out the Podcast Notes from his first appearance on the Crazy Wisdom podcast

Desire & The Ultimate Human Experience

  • Kunal is currently writing a book on desires
  • After going on a philosophy kick and reading Jed McKenna’s Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing, Kunal began to feel as if his desires were starting to get suppressed, but was left wondering if that was actually beneficial 
    • 🎧 Eventually, he came to conclude: “Just like becoming a monk and giving up all your desires cannot be the ultimate experience, as a human being, I think the ultimate human experience would be having a monk-life mentality to see the truth, having a king-like mentality for prosperity, and having a warrior-like mentality for fighting or chasing something.”Kunal
  • Going further:
    • “I don’t think pleasure is an issue, I think the chase of pleasure is an issue”
      • So, enjoy the pleasure when it comes, just don’t chase it

The Meaning of Desire

  • Desire arrives from pain
    • “It’s a common Buddhist concept that desires lead to misery, but on my exploration, I’ve found that misery leads to desire.” Kunal
  • 🎧 Kunal’s definition of desire: “A non-acceptance of the current state of the universe”
    • Non-acceptance = pain, and from that pain, desires arises
    • When you think about it, it’s interesting that humans experience desire in this way: Does a dog fight against reality? What about a spider?

Points to Think On

  • On one hand:
    • Eventually, everything becomes meaningless, and everything we do fades away
      • Because of this, do more things for their own sake – that’s where the best art comes from
  • On the other hand:
    • 🎧 “Your actions and your thoughts have this ripple effect. If you see the universe as a complex system, it’s a property of complex systems that a change in a single entity propagates through the complex system, depending on how connected the complex system is. And, of course, the universe is a very connected complex system, so every action and thought we have has a ripple effect that goes on until eternity.” Kunal

Let’s Go Deep

  • When you think about it, everything is “one,” rather than separate 
    • Think about a mosquito: It “sees” us through our heat signature and carbon dioxide levels
      • Suppose you place two people relatively close to one another – their heat signatures melt into one another, causing the mosquito to “see” one entity
    • So, if you extrapolate this out to our sight:
      • “Everything is one thing. There’s no separateness. The separateness is an illusion created by our senses.” – Kunal
  • The above makes Stewart think of the book, Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith

Seeking Certainty

  • Humans seek a world of certainty (order) in a world filled with chaos (disorder)
    • We find this certainty through concepts, beliefs, ideals, etc. that we’re willing to defend to the death

The Number #1 Rule of Desires | You Need a Framework for Processing Desires Before Chasing Them

  • Never chase a desire without first analyzing it and asking yourself a series of questions:
    • Why do I have this desire?
    • Where did this desire come from?
    • If I achieve this desire, what will the outcome be?

It Has to Come from the Heart

  • “I want my work to come from the heart, not come from force”Kunal
    • “Creativity comes from flow, it doesn’t come from force. I deeply believe in this.”
  • “Try to make your work an art-form or make your art-form your work. Once you’re involved in an art-form, you start gaining these states of no-mind. You experience it first-hand what effort-less effort looks like.” – Kunal
    • “Sometimes, when I’m writing, it feels like it’s just flowing. It feels like I am not writing it, it feels like it’s writing itself through me.”

What does wisdom mean to Kunal?

  • 🎧 “Meticulous, objective observation” Kunal
    • Expanded: “I don’t think reading, age, experience, or listening to podcasts is going to make you wiser if you don’t have meticulous, objective observations”
  • Think about it: If you incorporate something you read in a book into your life, the cycles completes when you observe the results of the application
    • If you don’t observe the results, you’re just a follower, you’re not wiser

Thoughts on Work

  • “I don’t see work as an independent entity. I see it with a bigger lens… One should treat work equally as important as your relationships and time spent with yourself.” – Kunal
    • All of your waking hours are spent on people, on work, or on yourself. Finding a balance is tricky – Kunal, personally, spends tons of time on his work and by himself but lacks time spent with others.
      • “Any kind of imbalance amid these three things causes sub-optimal results”
  • Steve Jobs has said in the past (paraphrased): “You need to find what you love. That’s true for both your work and your relationships.”
    • Kunal couldn’t agree more

Does Kunal meditate?

  • He doesn’t have a traditional meditation practice, but he sits down for ~25 minutes (~10 minutes in the Vajrasana pose, and ~15 minutes in the Sukhasana pose) and watches his thoughts after both lunch and dinner
    • “I just sit, relax, observe my thoughts, and see what’s going on in my head. After observing them for a while. they automatically settle down.” – Kunal

Advice for Teens

  • Use your teen years to explore your interests and find your unique talent
    • “Everyone has some unique talent because of their DNA, surroundings, and upbringing” – Kunal
    • Then, when you discover your unique talent, double down on it – with enough hard work and a little luck, you’ll be able to get paid for doing what you love

Additional Notes

  • Kunal lives in a dry state in India, where even alcohol isn’t allowed, with not many friends nearby
    • “Around 25 out of 30 days I talk around 4-5 sentences to my mom and dad” – Kunal
  • Stewart recently read David Epstein’s Range
    • One point from the book: Relative levels of IQ remain stable generation after generation. However, each generation’s ability to handle and think in abstract concepts is improving.
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