the end-goal and nirvana

The will to satisfaction is fundamental to all men- ever present, irreducible and undeniable.Whatever has free will wills satisfaction; to will is to prefer one outcome to another, to select one course and not select another, to be prepared for joy in the case of success and for tears in the case of failure. The true object of the will to satisfaction is eternal life, but it is not recognized as such. Man was made for eternal life and his freedom given to him for love, he will not be satisfied with anything else simply by virtue of the fact that he is not-god in a universe containing God.* This is at once a gift and a curse- a gift because it is what drives a person to long for a relationship with God and is, for our part, the reason that we may be restored to eternal life, and a curse because it is why men are dissatisfied with spiritual isolation. It is both the key to the gates of heaven and the reason that hellfire burns- indeed, the reason that there is any distinction at all.

All men desire satisfaction, but not all men possess the necessary faith to claim it. For between the will to satisfaction and its fulfillment is a wide chasm, crossed by few and only with great trepidation. Before the moment of vindication, no one can know with certainty that eternal life is the fulfillment of the will to satisfaction. Men desire the results of eternal life, and serve as many masters as there are desires in the world. But eternal life requires that we be limp to life, serving no master but God, and so in the pursuit of its effects we render ourselves incapable of receiving it. Instead we build lives we can control, devise methods for distracting ourselves from our souls, and in spite of their continually unsatisfied state prefer to continue our search for relief among the trash heaps of the petty and the superficial. There is nothing which will satisfy us- the very nature of striving will not allow for the possibility of satisfaction. And yet satisfaction is possible in vindication, possible in one way only: through the abdication of striving.

This, then, is our predicament: If we desire satisfaction, then we will not have eternal life, and therefore will not have satisfaction. If we desire eternal life, then we will have it, and satisfaction thrown into the bargain. The man who takes this lesson to heart, because he sincerely desires satisfaction, will see that the will to satisfaction has become for him a self destructive cannibalism and the only thing standing between himself and his heart’s desire, and his will to satisfaction will oppose itself. And yet he will not be able to rid himself of it entirely, only to thus invert it around an external goal. He must therefore commit fully to an all-in gambit: on the basis of his desire for satisfaction to desire nothing except eternal life, forbearing every other end and every defense from the precarity of his position. The only role of the will to satisfaction is this: to desire eternal life. This act is called faith.

The faithful seek eternal life so that they may be satisfied, whereas the unfaithful hope to be satisfied by sacrificing eternal life. Seeking eternal life involves sacrificing every other hope for satisfaction- this to the unfaithful seems perilously close to sacrificing satisfaction- even in the moment of repentance it so seems. Only in the subsequent moment of vindication is it revealed beyond all doubt to have been the right course. Therefore it might be said that eternal life is the end-goal, because faith is seeking eternal life over every other claim to satisfaction while you still do not know that this will result in satisfaction eternal.

Both inner peace and spiritual regeneration result from faith, and inner peace is valuable chiefly because it allows a person to be satisfied whether their immediate circumstances are good or ill, making not inner peace but satisfaction the end-goal, and inner peace the necessary predicate for satisfaction in a world of mixed good and ill. But satisfaction results precisely from the act of looking to own’s spiritual regeneration rather than one’s immediate circumstances, so that it might be said that spiritual regeneration is more substantively the cause of satisfaction than is inner peace, and inner peace is a description of one of the effects of spiritual regeneration.

In many ways nirvana is from the final perspective looking back, and in many other ways from the first perspective looking forward, a description of heaven. It is the end of all striving, seen from the first, as it is the surrender of everything for which one has striven thus far and in a very real sense the surrender of striving itself in the pursuit of spiritual regeneration, but it is from the end looking back discovered to be this only for the sake of the innermost striving, the purpose behind all striving. It is from the end looking back equanimity to all circumstances because of faith that one’s circumstances are in the hands of God and for the ultimate benefit of one’s immortal soul, but from the beginning looking forward precisely the opposite, a conviction to do one thing and not another precisely because if God does not reign in one’s own heart this will not become the case. The saint wants nothing but God, but wants Him with all his strength, but has Him, and is satisfied. He is powerful beyond belief and prone to the rending and destruction of that whatsoever with which he collides in his adoration of divinity, but his soul in its contentment is as still as calm water.

*This sentence is a necessary evil. What would be more correct would be to say that he is not-god in an existence originating from God.


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