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  1. #1
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Default Are beginnings and endings necessary?

    I think this goes into philosophy section better than MBTI

    Started off with a friend of mine showing me this passage...

    Illuminatus: Closing a cycle by Paulo Coelho
    Closing a cycle

    One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
    I did not exactly agree with the author... or rather I think change can occur anyways... you don't need an ending and a new beginning in order to have change.

    What's an ending?
    A new beginning.

    There's no ending,
    No beginning.
    It's all a matter of perception.
    What do you see?

    Wondering... pondering...
    Whatever for?
    Moving on?
    Acceptance... Change

    Release is not detachment,
    Merely changing views.
    Change is to shift
    Paradiagm shift.

    "What's a beginning and what's an ending? Only what you perceive as being so. In the end it doesn't really matter."
    "What defines the starting point and the ending point? Yourself"

    My friend disagrees... He thinks that perhaps there isn't a true beginning, but there is always an ending. Only by concluding something can you move on. So the ending matters. Otherwise you become stuck with inaction. I see them as something arbitrary set by the individual. That they're merely guides to help you decide your next set of actions... you don't necessarily need them.

    This is essentially two different ways of perceiving the situation. One is a black and white world, the other is in shades of gray.

    Which do you agree with? Is one way better than the other? Or does it not matter?

    My friend said I like to "shading everything" that there is no black and white for me. I believe INFJs are more prone to doing so... Strange... perhaps with seeing the multiple perspectives, we are more likely notice exceptions. Yet the INTJs who are also Ni dominant rarely do so.

    Any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    The passage spoke to me.

    I am not really sure that destruction of the physical relics of a time now past is necessary to move on -- it seems productive only if said artifacts are precluding one from moving ahead, but since the change occurs within, destruction of external items doesn't really impact it directly, it just removes potentially restrictive tethers.

    Anyway, been there, done this... I will generalize to make it applicable to as many people as possible.

    Death is change (and change is death). The old passes away, behold, all things become new. Everything has a life cycle -- people, countries, organizations, web sites, publications, corporations. They are born, they thrive, they mature, then they decline and die.

    Trying to keep something alive beyond the appointed time places it on artificial life support, and its existence is mostly meager and pitiful to examine. Eventually the life that we hold onto is but a veil pulled over a pallid skeleton... not really life at all. You see, change demands both a death and a birth; and when we cling to the past, we still die (even though we think we are clinging to life) and yet cannot be reborn because we are not moving ahead.

    So, effectively, we are dead and just don't know it. Mortality is burned into our bones. We have to accept it and allow rebirth.

    I have stayed in a situation I should have let go of long ago. But it hurt too much to go with the change, and it hurt too many other people as well. I just could not bring myself to end things so I could move on... but because of that, it became a living death. You can't stay who you were when you've already changed... and continue to change. Many of those people might not be able to change with me, so an ending does occur.

    After saying all that, stepping further outwards, I can't say whether an ending or beginning truly exist. Our lives are like those of a movie -- split-second snapshots run one after the other, but our mind blurs them all together into a continuous stream of images and experience. (Just like the human eye blurs together 30 fps of a motion picture, to create what looks like continuous action and sound.) If you view it like that, where is there ever an ending or beginning inherent in the flow, except what we attribute to that flow out of our own personal sense of meaningfulness?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    One of the reasons the word "self" exists in our vocabularies is that we pay more attention to endings than beginnings. Beginning comes after the ending because the ending is what makes us realize there was a beginning in the first place.

    What is moving on? Beginning to move towards another end. What end? Everyone is a spectator! You can't conclude things. Things conclude you. And sometimes you can't see it coming.
    Not really.

  4. #4
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    this is a thread I've to come back to.

    Perhaps there can be no real beginnings if we're not able to let go. Detachment/moving on/discarding. It is a question of semantics, isn't it.

    Truthfully, if the heart can let go, the mementos lose the original meaning. Then is there a need to discard them? Perhaps discarding them to forget, is a sign that one has not truly closed some doors?

    It follows then that the gray comes about if one views change as an evolution, rather than the revolution of black to white. I doubt we can all point to a defining moment as "Ah! That's when I stopped dying to the past and started living again". At least, I cannot.

    The human mind and heart does not compartmentalise that way, does it.

    It is usually a slow road to normalcy for me. In terms of moving on. The heart learns to forgive. But forgetting is another thing altogether. What have we learnt if we forget, in any case?

    So... no blacks and whites for me. But rather, one cycle merging into the next, hopefully on an up cycle, with the lessons learnt from the past, but without the grief and the suffering of the experience.

    Pain is inevitable, but suffering optional. (thanks Dana!). So I'd say, close the door to suffering, but accept that pain as a part of life and not forget its lesson.

  5. #5
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Pain is inevitable, but suffering optional. (thanks Dana!)
    What is the difference?
    Not really.

  6. #6
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I am not really sure that destruction of the physical relics of a time now past is necessary to move on -- it seems productive only if said artifacts are precluding one from moving ahead, but since the change occurs within, destruction of external items doesn't really impact it directly, it just removes potentially restrictive tethers.
    *nods* Depends on how you see it. Although I see how saying things have ended, frees your mind from clutter. Restrictive tethers as you call it so you can start afresh.

    Death is change (and change is death). The old passes away, behold, all things become new. Everything has a life cycle -- people, countries, organizations, web sites, publications, corporations. They are born, they thrive, they mature, then they decline and die.

    Trying to keep something alive beyond the appointed time places it on artificial life support, and its existence is mostly meager and pitiful to examine. Eventually the life that we hold onto is but a veil pulled over a pallid skeleton... not really life at all. You see, change demands both a death and a birth; and when we cling to the past, we still die (even though we think we are clinging to life) and yet cannot be reborn because we are not moving ahead.

    So, effectively, we are dead and just don't know it. Mortality is burned into our bones. We have to accept it and allow rebirth.
    What you've said there makes me think about whether there's a purpose in life. A cycle has a start point and an end point... but because it is a cycle... it circles back. The death of something becomes the birth of something else. In terms of what the author said, speaking practically lingering in something that's fading away is pointless. So you let it go, to die, so you can welcome the new beginning. True enough.

    My thoughts are... too scattered. Is there a purpose in our lives if we're going to die? It's a morbid question that doesn't really have an answer. I guess I just find it ironic that people try so hard to succeed... yet in the end we end up with nothing anyways. Well perhaps a legacy to the next generation.

    After saying all that, stepping further outwards, I can't say whether an ending or beginning truly exist. Our lives are like those of a movie -- split-second snapshots run one after the other, but our mind blurs them all together into a continuous stream of images and experience. (Just like the human eye blurs together 30 fps of a motion picture, to create what looks like continuous action and sound.) If you view it like that, where is there ever an ending or beginning inherent in the flow, except what we attribute to that flow out of our own personal sense of meaningfulness?
    That's a good analogy... motion pictures! My initial thought model is like the reverse of that. Instead of pieces being stringed up into something coherent by our consciousness, time is just something that flows on and on. It doesn't matter how we see it, it just keeps on moving. So the only markers in time is our consciousness. The past is there only because we remember it. So the beginning is only based on what is in our memory as the past. And the ending again only exists in our mind.

    Two different starting points that seems to generate the same conclusion. Interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nadir View Post
    One of the reasons the word "self" exists in our vocabularies is that we pay more attention to endings than beginnings. Beginning comes after the ending because the ending is what makes us realize there was a beginning in the first place.
    In other words, we pay attention to what matters to us. The self matters more than others, just like endings indicate the point in time that we need to change to survive. Therefore they matter more than beginnings. Thank you for pointing that out for me.

    You can't conclude things. Things conclude you. And sometimes you can't see it coming.
    Uhhhh is that not like a paradox then? Things conclude you... But something has to be making the things change does it? Does that not point sometimes to people initiating changes? So is the initiation of a conclusion the same as concluding something? Not sure...


    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    this is a thread I've to come back to.

    Perhaps there can be no real beginnings if we're not able to let go. Detachment/moving on/discarding. It is a question of semantics, isn't it.
    Note to self to remind Ae periodically about thread
    Well I suppose it'll be an easier problem to tackle if you can fully identify what they mean (detachment, moving on, discarding). One does not have to follow another. For example detachment can mean completely forgetting... in this case you've discarded so that you can move on. Detachment can also mean filing something away... it's not discarded, even though you can move on. The third case of cause is moving on without either detachment and discarding. Difficult, but not impossible.

    Let's expand your thought... If you're not able to let go of anything... so that there is never a true ending nor a beginning. What does that do?

    Truthfully, if the heart can let go, the mementos lose the original meaning. Then is there a need to discard them? Perhaps discarding them to forget, is a sign that one has not truly closed some doors?
    Depends on how you define letting go doesn't it?

    It follows then that the gray comes about if one views change as an evolution, rather than the revolution of black to white. I doubt we can all point to a defining moment as "Ah! That's when I stopped dying to the past and started living again". At least, I cannot.

    The human mind and heart does not compartmentalise that way, does it.
    For some people they can... I'm not exactly sure how they manage it though, because I never could.

    It is usually a slow road to normalcy for me. In terms of moving on. The heart learns to forgive. But forgetting is another thing altogether. What have we learnt if we forget, in any case?

    So... no blacks and whites for me. But rather, one cycle merging into the next, hopefully on an up cycle, with the lessons learnt from the past, but without the grief and the suffering of the experience.
    That is my view as well... I rather learn something however painful it maybe than to ignore the lesson. Call me a fool for heaping trouble onto myself, but isn't it better to believe that nothing is ever all black? Hmmm... A strangely optimistic thought from an otherwise pessimistic person.

  7. #7
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Hmm... I think it would be more accurate to say that things change and rearrange themselves endlessly (seemly striving for balance) than that they truly end or begin. They seem to end and begin to us because we place some kind of significance or understanding on a particular aspect of something being in a specific state.

    However, we need the ideas of beginnings and endings in order to comprehend things. We just don't have the mental acuity to simultaneously process all of reality as a whole.

  8. #8
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning
    Uhhhh is that not like a paradox then? Things conclude you... But something has to be making the things change does it? Does that not point sometimes to people initiating changes? So is the initiation of a conclusion the same as concluding something? Not sure...
    I can't truly put my finger on what changes things -- I suppose the umbrella term, "life", could be used. People could be it, too, of course -- but then we'd have to ask, what causes people to do that? Something else that evades fingers.

    What I meant by things concluding us was that I don't think we ever have conscious control over conclusions, that conclusions are not born of foresight or anticipation. It's like this... let's just assume that "things change." We react to the changes by attempting to adapt to them to the best of our abilities. And sometimes the changes require a conclusion to be made. But that doesn't change the thought that we probably wouldn't have concluded anything without that initial motive force, change. So whatever conclusions that are brought are actually reactionary in nature. We're not in control. The same things that need conclusion are the ones that drive us to conclude in the first place. In a way it's not that we're done with them, but they are done with us. That's what I meant by "things conclude you."

    I am hoping that I made sense...
    Not really.

  9. #9
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    I know it sounds cliche, like a pretentious philosophy student or something, but I honestly think both beginnings and endings are arbitrary at best... and actually illusory.

    But I did say it was time to mentally hit the hay, so I won't expand on that right now.
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    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    "What's a beginning and what's an ending? Only what you perceive as being so. In the end it doesn't really matter."
    "What defines the starting point and the ending point? Yourself"

    My friend disagrees... He thinks that perhaps there isn't a true beginning, but there is always an ending. Only by concluding something can you move on. So the ending matters. Otherwise you become stuck with inaction. I see them as something arbitrary set by the individual. That they're merely guides to help you decide your next set of actions... you don't necessarily need them.

    This is essentially two different ways of perceiving the situation. One is a black and white world, the other is in shades of gray.

    Which do you agree with? Is one way better than the other? Or does it not matter??
    I really liked the passage, and could relate to it.

    As to which view I agree with, well, I can see both. I think in many ways, life is more of a 'flow', and there aren't any concrete beginnings or endings. I wrote this a while back, regarding myself and how I view my own path:

    Looking at my life, yes, I'm the same person....but I also distinctly remember different 'phases' of mine, and different 'perception-glasses' I was wearing at various times in my life. I tend to look at my own development as more of an 'evolution'...just a continuous flow. Gradual changes from week to week or year to year (and hopefully based on learnings and gaining more knowledge and *wisdom* and awareness over time), but if you cut out 5 yrs, and disregard everything that happened between point X and point [X-5] (hehe), then it could be viewed as two distinct people, yeah. It is funny.

    BUT I think it is quite convenient for the mind to structure things into concrete endings and new beginnings, so from a psychological/emotional health perspective, I think everything Coelho writes is an effective *tool* to let go of things, to recognize that you can be empowered to make changes in the now, and going forward, and nothing is really stopping you except perhaps yourself, and limitations you are placing on yourself by holding onto repetitive behaviors/views, something in your past, safety/defense mechanisms, etc. Without rewriting the same stuff in the passage, I guess it really spoke to me and I feel like I try to approach my own life in a similar manner. And, for my own purposes, I do recognize 'phases' in my life, and distinct endings and beginnings. Could these, in a sense, be viewed as artificial and manufactured by me? Oh, certainly. It is all about perception, and in the same way, I could also view them, I suppose, as a continuous flow without beginning or end -- just one thing leading to another. Cause and effect. But that too could be seen as artificial, right? It is a construct of our own mind too.

    As to your final question, I don't think it really matters which way you look at it. It's what makes the most sense to the individual, and what helps the individual deal with their past, present, and future, in a healthy way.
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