Following feeling, relying on liking or wanting, we are not free. The freedom to "do as we like" is not freedom of choice because we are ruled by the powerful property of feeling; we cannot choose apart from liking and disliking. Likes and dislikes may be articulated in the form of sophisticated-sounding opinions, but the decision is made for us by feeling. The Western world places a high value on personal feelings and opinions: Each individual "has a right" to an opinion. But rarely do we question how we have arrived at our opinion. Upon examination, we may discover that opinions tend to stem from convenience, familiarity, and selfishness–what feels good or what is pleasing or comfortable to us. Upon this basis, we act, and receive the consequences of our action. Even if we compile a large number of such opinions, there is no guarantee that we will develop a wise perspective as a ground for action. Often this process only creates a mass of confusion, for opinions of one individual tend to conflict with the opinions of another. If there appears to be agreement, we tend to assume this agreement will remain stable. But agreement only means that the needs of the individuals involved are temporarily similar, and when those needs shift, agreement will evaporate. To make certain decisions, we rely on logic or scientific findings, which are supposedly free from personal opinion but are still weighted with the opinions of a particular culture. This style of knowing is founded on particular distinctions and ignores other possibilities. The evidence is clear that the scope of modern scientific knowledge is limited, for this knowledge is not yet able to predict and control the side-effects resulting from its own use. Its solutions in turn create more problems, reinforcing the circular patterns of samsara. Only understanding that penetrates to the root causes of problems can break this circularity. Until we explore the depths of consciousness, we cannot resolve the fundamental questions that face human beings.
entre plusieurs opinions également reçues, je ne choisissais que les plus modérées, tant à cause que ce sont toujours les plus commodes pour la pratique, et vraisemblablement les meilleures, tous excès ayant coutume d'être mauvais, comme aussi afin de me détourner moins du vrai chemin, en cas que je faillisse, que si, ayant choisi l'un des extrêmes, c'eût été l'autre qu'il fallu suivre. (3e partie, para 2)
...it's exemplification of our moment in American culture and American cultural journalism. It is an accurate document of the discourse of "takes." This movie, that book, this poem, that painting, this record, that show: Make a smart remark and move on. A take is an opinion that has no aspiration to a belief, an impression taht never hardens into a position. Its lightness is its appeal. It is provisional, evanescent, a move in a game, an accredited shallowness, a bulwark against a pause in the conversation. A take is expected not to be true but to be interesting, and even when it is interesting it makes no troublesome claim upon anybody's attention. Another take will quickly follow, and the silence that is a mark of perplexity, of research and reflection, will be mercifully kept at bay. A take asks for no affiliation. It requires no commitment.