My Intellectual Development

My intellectual development can be likened to the dating record of a middle-aged bachelor. I have restlessly trudged through affair after affair. First I was seduced by engineering and the marvels of man’s advances in technology; I got over her by distracting myself with the voracious and volatile lady of artistic expression but was left again without fulfillment; then I was courted by my oldest lover, mother nature, and fell under the spell of her many fascinating and outlandish pets; I suffered through a taxing separation with antiquity and finally broke an engagement I had entered into with my beloved, politics. However, I am happy to say that my committaphobia has ended and I am ready to settle down. My heart has fixated on a mistress to which I now unavoidably must devout my mind—philosophy. As all men who foolishly lower their defenses to the prospect of love do, I have fallen deeply in love and never again will any other be adequate for me. \n This is not to say that she is a kind lover. She casts us, as one of her former suitors famously said, "into a dark sea without shores or lighthouses," (Immanuel Kant) and then mocks us with the prospect of truth. Unfortunately, rarely do I, or any of her other lovers, catch a glimpse of her; and even more rarely do I have the opportunity to touch her. However, after her any other discipline seems unfulfilling. Perhaps ours is not the most pleasurable relationship, but ours is certainly the most necessary and fulfilling. \n

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Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.

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