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For most people it is a dissatisfaction with their current lifes that makes them look for change. But it is not solely a thing of willpower or thinking - that does not work, it has to go deeper into what kcurie calles the symbolic.

This is almost always true.  The power of the frame and the myth is such that the only reliable motivation for one to change that frame and myth is that it does not work and instead produces psychic pain. Such a person feels adrift and lost and usually is missing several understandings, experiences and insights.  I have been that person.

The mystics can be a guide here, but only if one is at the proper point in their life.  When I was in grad school I took a Western Intellectual History course taught by, my luck, a self professed Thomist, his belief system was far from the only thing this professor liked to be outrageous about.  One of the assignments was Juan de la Cruz's Dark Night of the Soul!  I was a 21 year old atheist and thought that having to read and attempt to understand this drivel work was my own dark night of the soul. I read the work and tried to understand it but I had no basis for so doing. I got my A by not having to deal with Juan.  A few years later, after some relevant personal experience, no problem!  I clearly understood what Juan had been talking about, even though the way out that I found would have been alien to him. (Unless, perhaps, some of Juan's experiences were triggered by ergot, but even then...)

One thing though is clear: utter and abject misery is a wonderful motivator to cause one to consider that perhaps there are errors or omissions in one's understanding of one's self and the world, although it is far from sufficient. Subsequently I have often seen that a similar situation is the motivating force for others to reevaluate themselves and their lives.  One can arrive at a similar conclusion on a purely abstract and intellectual basis, but the understanding thus achieved usually lacks the emotional force and motivating power to cause them to be willing to undertake the difficult inner work needed for change.

 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:02:01 PM EST
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