Some reflections on ideologies

Life is what we make of it. Ideologies serve as a tool for us to make sense of our perception of reality. They are not the truth itself but rather signposts that lead us to the truth. It seems that many ideologies share a common hope or desire or concept of a better world or a higher reality that we all want to experience.

God the Father 12In Christianity for example, those who subscribe to the concept of the kingdom of God can be described to have two different ways of approaching or looking at it. Some believe the kingdom of God is literal and can only be accessed in future after death since it is bound by time and space, and it may involve following a certain set of rules, rituals and/or beliefs in order to get to that physical place eventually. Others believe the kingdom of God is not bound by time and space, and is already in the here and now, and it does not involve doing or performing or believing or obeying any rule or doctrine or ritual, but rather it involves a renewing of the mind to realise that there is no way to get from here to there because we are already there.

Dharma Wheel. This is one of the most importan...Similarly, in Buddhism, it seems that there are two approaches to the concept of nirvana or enlightenment. Some believe in practising the noble eightfold path, perhaps over a number of lifetimes, before one finally attains enlightenment or enters nirvana where one is free from the cycle of birth and death, thus free from attachment and the sufferings that come with it. Others believe that nirvana is not somewhere to go to in the future but is already present in the here and now. So to them, there is no way to peace, but rather peace is the way, just as there is no way to happiness, but rather happiness is the way. As in the case of esoteric Christianity, it does not involve performance; it only involves a change in perspective or mindset.

To take another step further, depending on how radical we want to be, we can consider postmodern philosophy and “death-of-god” theologies to make sense of our perception of reality. Slavoj Zizek, for example, would probably adopt a contrarian approach (as he has done when speaking about Nature and ecological catastrophes in the “Examined Life” documentary) and say something along the line of “there is no kingdom of God, and the solution for overcoming the ego is to be even more alienated from (the concept of) the kingdom of God so as to be free from the idealism about entering the kingdom of God, since love means to accept our complete self, including the ego”. Similarly, Peter Rollins would probably apply his radical theology and say something like “life is suffering and there are no answers. Nothing can ever satisfy us, whether it is to worship this god or look this way or follow these steps. Only when we embrace our unknowing and uncertainties and brokenness can we find liberation in the midst of our sufferings.”

To me, whichever ideology each of us may want to adopt, as long as it resonates with us and produces a deep sense of rest, it is probably what we need at that particular point in our journey in life.

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