Scott:  So our so-called hedonism does not lead us to evil-doing, but quite the contrary, it leads us to a greater fulfilment of the concerns of morality than does morality itself.

Zhuangzi:  Correct. And why are we “hedonists’?

Scott:  We are hedonists because we take the enjoyment of life as the greatest good. And we follow that because that is what life itself is. Life is self-flourishing. And so we harmonize with how life manifests in us. We pursue our own self-flourishing.

Zz:  Right. And we “pursue” it, and are not simply spontaneously it, because we are by Nature warped. Self-consciousness and the dualism it creates is an apparent anomaly in the world, and this requires us to make conscious choices.

Scott:  So the sage is merely a hypothetical?  And complete spontaneity is likewise hypothetical?

Zz:  They are for you, are they not?

Scott:  They are.

Zz:  Well then; that’s what they are.

Scott:  Then oneness is also only a hypothetical? But I know that. It’s only a chosen interpretation of the world where some interpretation is necessary even if it must remain hypothetical. And we choose this one because we discover it enhances our enjoyment of life.

Zz:  Yes. And what’s interesting is that we can experience it—at least in approximation. But if it is only a hypothetical, then experiencing it is not confirming it as factually true, but simply tweaking our own self-experience.

Scott:  It’s cool that we can do that. But then I guess that’s what we must always do. What we take as a “normal” self-experience is really only the one that we have decided on as a species. Taking ourselves as “full and real” is our default tweak. Believing that we are absolutely different than all other things and not in oneness with them is nothing but a similar tweaking of our self-experience.

Zz: And since that leads to fear and alienation, why not try a different tweak? It’s all made-up; so why not make up the most enjoyable interpretive tweak?

Scott:  The self-experience is really essentially malleable. We only experience it as fixed and rigid because there are millennia of our having done so as a species. So a revolution in consciousness—something that many see as the only hope for our future flourishing as a species—is actually feasible, though given the extent of our present rigidity, unlikely.

Zz:  Yes. I share your pessimism. I hope for the best, and my work was an attempt to further it, but in the end it might be hoping too much. That’s what’s so great about being free of all conditional hope. The experience of oneness gives us an unconditional hope. All is well!

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