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No Man Is An Island.

I disagree exactly. But how to express that? How about like this:-

No! Man IS an island.

Exactly.

Couldn't have put it better.

At various times over the years I play around with a tone poem around this idea. It usually begins thus:

No, man is an island, exactly so, each seeming to be isolated and alone to face the storms, the winds and rain and then to rub it all in, the glaring sun plays on our beaches.

All around us we are surrounded by water. Nothing below, it would seem anyway, but water. And that water, on the face of it, the surface, our world, what is popularly but erroneously called the "real world", our very limited world, our dimensionally-bound world, our air-breathing world, is the only part that is ever seen (unless one breaks through, to move into another dimension so as to be able to view the larger picture from there) is sometimes rough, often threatening and you can never really define it, for one day it seems like such-and-such and another day it seems completely different.

That is how life seems. Some will say or insist that is how life is, not just seems. Isn't that exactly how we view life. Mostly, each one of us sees their life, sees themselves, as an island, and often embittered by the experience, each person so chooses, chooses to view it that way. It is a distorted and false view though.

That popular and self-defeated view overlooks, it literally overlooks something else: all that lies below the surface. The surface and all that is above it, but not even much of that in fact, is all the island considers or sees and thinks of as being real.

But going below the surface we encounter in one sense another world but in a more important sense it is the same world too. We just chose to ignore everything to do with this other world or, more correctly put, this other part of our world, and not to see it and not to want to know anything about it.

Why else would no one ever say in reply to "No man is an island" that, on the contrary, and exactly so, he is always an island and never anything but an island. It never crosses his or her mind, that is why.

For, if you have not realized it for yourself before this moment, each of these islands, and each one of us too, to be an island at all, has a common feature as it's most permanent part, it's most constant part, it's most reliable and firmest part, which continues, but can only really be discovered, always, deep, deep down and down through that other dimension, those deep waters around us which also, of course, extend below us too, and there we will find the core, the solid reality of our very existence.

If ever you say "no man is an island" then say it my way: "No, no, no" and after a brief pause: "No. Man is an island!". Because, of course he is. And the other version, the original, the honoured one, the unquestioned one, the traditional one, the one regarded as a piece of wisdom, well, that version is false, misleading and hides or conceals the truth and serves to obstruct it's discovery.

Seeing the deeper meaning and purpose of life is like gong to that part of us, our core so to speak, until we know that it is the real case, the actual reality, that we all have this common core, and that all that we can ever observe and experience on the surface and even above that surface, no matter how much we grasp it's meaning and become experts in expressing that understanding, is simply never, ever, going to include the greater meaning that is implied when we compare, more correctly, the life of man with an island in the fuller meaning of what an island is.

Do not be fooled into a common and polular misconception: that all we see is all we are, that all we are is this superficial PART of the island that captures so much of our intelligent perception with so little to prompt us to challenge that perception. Do not interpret the "blindness to evidence" to mean "the absence of evidence" because the next stupid blunder along this road to insanity is to interpret the "absense of evidence" to mean "evidence of absence". This is how insanity spreads and grows. Stop nurturing insanity; don't contribute to it; nobody wins from it.

Do not make a false observation, a seemingly reasonable conclusion, that to be like an island is only to be like the part, the part, that we all see and to omit to see, to be blind to, the greater reality of the island which must include that other, more hidden, part of the island, that part which lies out of sight normally and is never perceived normally.

The only meaningful truth to be gleaned from "no man is an island" is that it is the nature of islands to SEEM isolated and separate but, in reality, always, islands, to be islands at all, must have a common core binding them together, must be joined together beneath the water. This single aspect of the island, the fact that no island is isolated or completely separated, is the only feature that is essentially the same, that is essentially what all islands must have in common. On the surface the common feature of islands are less reliable. Above the water-line an island can practically 'rub shoulders' with next-door islands, so little water lies between them, that they don't even seem like islands at all. The wind can make their trees wave to each other, one island to another. Does that sound like lonliness and isolation to you?

The irony is that the sentiment being expressed in the original version of the philosophical idea that no man is an island is, I rather suspect, probably much the same as the idea that I have tried to convey in my own, corrected, version of that aphorism. But, and you would expect me to say this, I think my version deserves greater respect and consideration than the unchallenged version that, blindly as usual, is taken to be a piece of wisdom when it is simply another piece of mind-junk that just helps to foster a completely false view of what reality is and what life is and in particular what human life is and what it means to be a human.

Think, if you doubt that, what must happen if instead of "no man is an island" were respected and treated as wisdom, my version "No! Man IS an island", were to be swapped for it. There is an obvious blindness in the saying "no man is an island". It is meant to mean that we are none of us really alone. The truth is that each of us is an island and that we are, seemingly, all alone. But a fuller realization of what an island is, it is not just the visible part (must I point it out?), but is the rest of the island too, shows that even though we may seem alone and separate, the fact is that we are neither.

Thinking is like exercising the muscles of your mind. This article shows you how you can do it for yourself. It also shows you that it is not some fantasy thing but achieves real results. If you now understand this then you have become wiser and, in addition, you have shown to yourself that your ability to think a thing through for yourself can be done, is possible, and is always the best option.

Much of the surface world, the superficial world, our world, now appears, more than ever before in human history, to be significantly insane. I do not mean that more people are insane. I mean that society, the USA and the UK in particular, now functions in a more insane way, that insane thinking plays a more dominant role in it's development and daily life.

When you spend time with a single simple idea such as this one in this article then you are helping yourself to greater sanity. I spent most of one day writing this. But I spent many hours on many different ocassions over the years reflecting upon the idea itself. If you read it carefully and slowly and take in each part and then reflect and consider it, then you are discovering, if you didn't know already, that this simple but profound use of the mind, of thinking clearly, of thinking independently, of thinking without pressure, without undue influence, is beneficial, it is a good exercise and more particularly, it acts as a means to break away from other influences upon your own mind which are, more and more, unhealthy. This is a way of cleaning your mind, if you like, or of exercising the mind-muscles. And...wasn't it fun too?

Paul E. Coughlin
SaneThinking.com
18th April 2007


You may like to know that there may be other articles, similar to this one, here, in this category:
My Philosophy


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