There is no map

There’s an interesting anecdote about a zen master Bassui Tokushō (抜隊 得勝) in the book “Zen Radicals, Rebels, and Reformers” by Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger.

Namely, sometime in the 14th century, Bassui posted a list of rules on the door of the temple for the monks to follow. Some of the rules dealt with alcohol: e.g., it was strictly forbidden to consume it.

Then, one time, he showed up in front of his students completely drunk. When his students asked about this, he told them that they shouldn’t get stuck on regulations. That rules are just guidelines.

The point is that we have to think with our own heads. It is stupid to just blindly follow a set of rules like a computer that goes through a line of code.

Nietzsche also touches on it. He hated everything to do with dogmas and idols. His goals were to get people to think for themselves. This is why he was” anti-christ” - against institutionalized religion.

I do not set up any new idols; may the old idols learn what it is to have legs of clay.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

So, all this idolizing, following, and dogmatic thinking serves as a sort of a map. Many people want to be told how to live. They are desperately seeking instructions on the “correct” way to live.

The truth is, nobody knows anything. There is no map!

This is scary and liberating at the same time. Scary because you’re on your own - everything you know might be a lie. But at the same time, it means you can create your own reality - your own idea of what is the truth.

This ties very well to the social conditioning part of our society. We’re told to do certain things and are expected to behave this way or that way. A lot of this is absolute bullshit - it’s up for you to figure out what is and isn’t - not for anyone else.